Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Edgar Joseph de Normanville

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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

Apprentice with Crowden Motor Works and Duryea Motor Co

1905 February. Details of the Norman Crypto Gear.[1]

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

1968 Died[2]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Autocar 1905/02/11
  2. The Times, Jan 19, 1968