Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 142,881 pages of information and 228,796 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
Captain Edgar De Normanville (1882-1968) was the inventor of the overdrive for cars.
1882 Born at Leamington Spa
Educated at Ampleforth, during which period he conceived the idea of a rotating disc to maintain visibility through a windscreen, later used in ships.
1899 engaged in the motor trade in Coventry
1905 February. Details of the Norman Crypto Gear.
1908 Joined the editoral staff of Motor magazine. Wrote several books
WWI Served with Royal Engineers
Post War: journalist with the Daily Express
1919 Wrote an article for The Engineer on "Current Tendencies in Automobile Design". Read it at The Engineer 1919/10/24 on page 406.
1920 First patent, on an epicyclic braking system
Later became a journalist with the The Chronicle
1930s His interest in epicyclic gearing led to its introduction in a Humber 4-speed box
1934 Patent on epicyclic transmission taken out by De Normanville Transmissions Ltd of Coventry
Post-WWII: developed the epicyclic concept for use as an overdrive facility. Interested Axel Wickman in the idea and they formed Auto Transmissions Ltd of which de Normanville became technical director. The overdrive was manufactured by Laycock Engineering. The company continued to supply overdrives for many years.
1954 of Berkhampstead, Herts, patent with Auto Transmissions of Coventry on epicylic gear transmission system