Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 150,650 pages of information and 235,200 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Oscar Theodor Gnosspelius

From Graces Guide

Major Oscar Theodor Gnosspelius (10 March 1878 - 17 February 1953) was an English civil engineer and pioneer seaplane builder.

Gnosspelius was born at Brookfield House, Maghull on 18 March 1878 the only son of Adolf Jonathan Gnosspelius.

He was educated in Bedford and later was to study civil engineering at the City and Guilds Central Technical College in South Kensington.

Between 1899 and 1902 he was an apprentice to civil engineer Sir Douglas Fox. After working at a quarry in Sweden he spent time in Transvaal and Brazil carrying out land surveys, by 1908 was in Angola working on a railway survey.

In 1910 he failed to make his Bleriot-like monoplane fly but in 1912 he had success when he designed his first seaplane, the Gnosspelius No. 2.

During the first world war he was commissioned in the Royal Naval Air Service, later Royal Air Force and was employed on the inspection staff.

Between 1918 and 1925 he worked in the test department at Rochester for Short Brothers the seaplane builders. During his time at Shorts he designed an ultralight monoplane the Gnosspelius Gull.

In 1925 he married the artist and sculptor Barbara Collingwood, she was the daughter of the author W. G. Collingwood and was one of the children (along with the family boat Swallow) that had inspired family friend Arthur Ransome when he wrote Swallows and Amazons. Ransome used the mining and prospecting knowledge of Oscar Gnosspelius and he was featured in the book Pigeon Post as Squashy Hat and the book was dedicated to him.

Gnosspelius died on 17 February 1953.

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