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British Industrial History

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1930 Industrial Britain: Rolls-Royce

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1930.
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Note: This is a sub-section of 1930 Industrial Britain

See also Rolls-Royce

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A famous name in the history of motoring and aviation.

OF all the names that have become famous during the growth and development of the British Motor Industry, there is one that has occupied from the first a special position a name associated with the peculiarly British characteristics of accuracy, thoroughness and retrained luxury; a name which has come to be accepted the world over as a guarantee of perfection within human limits - the name of Rolls-Royce.

The Rolls-Royce car of to-day has been laboriously developed, largely by the personal efforts of Mr. F. Royce, out of an experimental car built in the year i9o, Mr. Royce's experiments in the designing and making of motor cars attracted the attention of the late Mr. C. S. Rolls of London, and agreements were entered into which ultimately led to the foundation of the firm of Rolls-Royce Ltd., with extensive works at Manchester equipped for the production of motor cars to standards of accuracy and perfection then almost unheard of. These works were rapidly outgrown, and Mr. Royce himself planned in 1906 new works for the Company at Derby, which even to-day are regarded as a model of layout, equipment and efficiency. The Derby Works were designed for the production of the famous 40-50 h.p. 6-cylinder model Rolls-Royce known as the "Silver Ghost," and from 1908 until 1922 this was the only model built by the Company.

Inspired perhaps by the achievements of the Hon. C. S. Rolls, who was one of the pioneers of the heavier-than-air aviation, Mr. Royce became interested in the design of aero-engines, and the outbreak of war found him almost ready to meet the country's most urgent need. The first Rolls-Royce aero-engines were delivered during 1915, and by the end of the war there were more Rolls-Royce aero-engines in service than of any other make - they were installed in five-eighths of the aeroplanes and sea planes we used in the Great War. This important branch of the Company's activities continues to develop, and to-day the Rolls-Royce aero-engine holds as proud a position in the air as the Rolls-Royce car holds on the road. It was a Rolls-Royce 36o h.p. " Eagle VIII." engine which carried Sir John Alcock over the Atlantic on his historic flight of June 14,5th, x9,, and a pair of Rolls-Royce " Condor IIIA " engines which carried Sir Also Cobham on his flight round Africa of November, 19a7, to June, 1928. In 19, the now famous Rolls-Royce Twenty " was introduced to the motoring world - a model which exactly reproduced on a smaller scale the excellence and performance of the 4o-so h.p. models - and in 1926 the " Silver Ghost " was superseded by the overhead-valve 4o-5o h.p. "Nev., Phantom" model, which, at the time of writing, represents Mr. Royce's latest contribution to the science of motor engineering.

A visitor to the Rolls-Royce Derby Works, which are now devoted to the production of the "New Phantom," the "Twenty" and various models of aero-engines, is impressed with the contrast between the peaceful, almost rural, surroundings and the intense activity within. The fact that a Rolls-Royce chassis is not, nor ever will be, a "mass production" chassis, does not mean that there is anything clumsy or wasteful in the process of its manufacture. Although the aim is highest perfection rather than maximum quantity, the means to that end are none the less economic and scientific. From arrival, selection and Letting of raw material to final passing of finished chassis or engine is an ordered succession of carefully planned and skilfully executed operations. No new feature is allowed to be introduced on the Rolls-Royce chassis until it has successfully passed a 10,000 miles test on the worst possible roads on the Continent and at home.

The visitor conducted round the works sees the finished product grow, as it were, under his eyes. If there is one thing more than another that impresses him, it is the manner in which Rolls-Royce Ltd. interpret the word "Test." Nothing that fails to pass the severest test is allowed to leave the works. This is the tradition founded by Mr. Royce. Such a tradition breeds workmen of no mean order, and it was a staff trained at Derby that was selected to form the nucleus of Rolls-Royce of America when that Company was incorporated at Springfield, Mass., in 1919.

A few yards from the gate of the Derby Works is the Rolls-Royce Athletic Club, which is equipped for all manner of sports and games, and enjoys as wide and pleasant a prospect as could be found anywhere in rural England.

The offices and salesrooms of the Company are situated in Conduit Street, London, A., and a new and enlarged Service and Repair Depot has recently been constructed on ground long ago acquired for that purpose at Cricklewood. This Depot is easily accessible from all parts of London, and is planned to give the utmost convenience to Rolls-Royce owners and drivers. Another of the Company's most interesting activities is the Rolls-Royce School of Instruction at Seleng House, Ewell, Surrey. Here, in the most comfortable surroundings, Rolls-Royce owners and drivers can take a complete and thorough course of instruction - residential or non-residential, as required - in the construction, maintenance, running and driving of the particular model with which they are concerned.

Such, in brief, is the organisation behind that world-famous and most typically British product, the Rolls-Royce car.

But the firm of Rolls-Royce Ltd. is not content to trade on the happy incident of its British nationality - it strives in all its dealings and through every member, from the highest to the low., to make the Rolls-Royce car a product which honours the nationality which it is so proud to bear.

The name Rolls-Royce has come to be universally adopted as a superlative adjective when all others fail in their ability to describe the super-excellent.


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