Engineering legacies are all around us. They are constant reminders of the hard work done by engineers who came before us and how, against all odds, they were able to create incredible industries, build amazing marvels, and improve the world that they lived in.
What kind of engineers paved the way for the industries we know and love today? Well as it turns out, they were no different to the engineering students who are endeavoring to change the world we live in today.
Henry Royce never went to university. He was not from a wealthy background, but he had a knack for engineering. He made a career for himself by fitting into technical roles until he eventually founded a company in 1884 known as FH Royce and Company. They would produce dynamos, electric cranes and other small-sized electrical equipment.
Henry Royce was particularly enamored by the sector of mechanical engineering related to motor vehicles. He would be the driving force behind what would one day become one of the world's most renowned automobile engineering companies.
Seeing the world of automobile manufacturing exploding before his eyes, he began work on his own motorcar and called it the Royce. He insisted that every part of the engineering process should never compromise on design or cost - he wanted it to be the best.
So, where exactly does the ‘Rolls’ in Rolls Royce come from?
Charles Rolls was a Cambridge graduate. Being an aristocrat, he loved the finer things in life. His upbringing could not have been more different than that of Royce’s. He too, however, had an affinity for motorcars and was particularly fascinated by the development of aviation.
Charles Rolls met Henry Royce through a mutual friend at the Royal Automobile Club. The friend invited Rolls to see the car Royce had worked on.
He was known to have a preference for four-cylinder cars, whereas Royce's was a two cylinder. But Rolls was sold. From that day onward, Rolls resolved to sell every car Royce engineered. Thus, after a handshake, the Rolls-Royce Company had begun. Royce being the engineer and Rolls as the salesman. A match made in engineering heaven.
In 1904, the first Rolls-Royce 10hp was announced. The Manchester workshops were quickly inundated and could not keep up with demand. They opened more factories in Darby in 1908. The rest is history.
The Rolls-Royce soon became the vehicle manufacturer renowned for the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot fitted to the bonnet and had its rightful place as the most luxurious car in the world.
Alive and kicking
Rolls-Royce is still the brand of choice for the upper class men and women of today. Royce's methodology of never cutting corners and always working with the best materials is currently still in practice.
It is still considered to be the most luxurious vehicle brand in the world. Customers can choose from a range of 44,000 different shades of paint. If customers want a color that isn’t in the 44,000 options, the company will customize the chosen color for the customer.
Rolls-Royce has won the hearts of engineering admirers for their attention to detail. It has made its way into the history book as a British icon. With unparalleled luxury and classic design, everyone knows when they see a Rolls-Royce.
And now, they're leveling up. The company is releasing its first all-terrain SUV called the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. It will bring their kind of luxury into the previously untouched, sturdier class of vehicles.
They're reportedly struggling to keep up with customer demand of the new SUV, with the waiting list currently five months long. According to Car Mag, they have employed 200 employees to meet the demand.
The high demand for Rolls-Royce vehicles speaks to the legacy of Henry Royce and Charles Rolls. It is proof that the hard work and determination that went into the engineering of the many Rolls-Royce vehicles can still be felt 115 years later.
“CULLINAN.” Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Home, www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com/en-GB/cullinan.html.
“Rolls Royce: Dream Machines.” Channel 5, www.channel5.com/episode/episode-1-908/.