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British Industrial History

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Walter Charles Bersey

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1896. The Bersey Electrical Autocar.

Walter Charles Bersey

1874 Born in Bethnal Green[1] son of Thomas Bersey, an accountant[2]

Attended lecture courses at Finsbury College given by Silvanus P. Thompson[3]

1894. Walter Bersey, a brilliant 20-year-old, patented an "improvement in electrically operated common road vehicles", allowing horse-drawn vehicles to be adapted for electric propulsion.

1896 With Desmond Gerald Fitzgerald he patented "improvements in voltaic batteries" which used dry materials to avoid the problem of electrolyte sloshing.

1893-1899 Walter Bersey designed electric buses, cars, and cabs in London UK. The early cabs had 3 1/2 HP Lundell motors, ran at 9 MPH for about 30 miles, and featured quick-change battery boxes. Two companies built 77 cabs to Bersey's design. The cab enterprise lasted from August 1897 to August 1899.

1896 Walter Charles Bersey, of Long Acre, London, became an Associate of the Institution of Electrical Engineers[4]

1896 The Universal Electric Carriage Co (Walter Bersey) of 39 Victoria Street, London showed a phaeton and a landau electrically driven at the 1896 Motor Show.

1896 With Ernest Francis Moy patented an electrical switch suitable for controlling electric motors in vehicles and for other purposes.

1897 The London Electric Cab Co began regular service using cars designed by Walter Bersey. The Bersey Cab, which used a 40-cell battery and 3 horsepower electric motor, could be driven 50 miles between charges.

1898 Married Christine Mackenzie in Hackney[5]

1900 Walter Bersey entered Georges Richard's car No. 47 in the 1900 One Thousand Mile Trial.

1901 of Automobile Manufacturing Co

1904 'BERSEY, Walter C., A.I.E.E., Norbury Avenue, Norbury, London, S.W. Car: 24-h.p. Panhard, Hobby: Golf. Is a motorist of many years' standing, and an acknowledged expert in electrical and petrol motors. In 1889 constructed an electric omnibus. In 1896 also founded and was general manager of the London Electric Cab Company, which owned over eighty electric cabs, all designed by Mr. Bersey. These cabs constituted the first self-propelled service of vehicles started in London, if not in Great Britain, and were a distinct success. Built his first petrol car in 1898. Clubs: Whitehall, A.C.G.B. & I.' [6]

1950 Died at Sandbanks, Bournemouth[7]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. BMD
  2. Marriage Register
  3. Electrical Engineer Membership Forms
  4. Electrical Engineer Lists
  5. Marriage register
  6. Motoring Annual and Motorist’s Year Book 1904
  7. National Probate Calendar