Archive for June, 2013


 

George B Selden (1846 – 1922) was a patent lawyer and an inventor. In 1879 , he filed a patent for a horseless carriage – Road engine powered by liquid-hydrocarbon engine of the compression type. After many updates, the US patent office finally  awarded the patent to him in 1895 – Patent no 549.160. The liquid-hydrocarbon engine mentioned in the patent was of the Brayton cycle type.
Even though George Selden never built an automobile , he intended to use the patent effectively to collect royalties. In 1899, Selden sold the patent to Electric Vehicle Company (EVC) who wanted to control the Electric vehicle business by controlling the Gasoline powered automobiles through the Selden patent. Immediately they filed patent suit against Winton Automobiles who were one of the largest sellers of automobile.
By 1903, 30+ automobile manufacturers got to togather to support the Selden patent with a view to limit and shut out competition, called theAssociation of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers (ALAM). The Association would pool in royalties from the members and use it partially to find patent infringement cases. Winton joined the ALAM and the case against him was dropped.
The royalties started with 1.25 % and was finally fixed at 0.75%.
In 1903 , Ford Motor Co decided to contest the patent by refusing to pay royalties and a long drawn legal battle ensued. In 1909, Ford lost the case as the judge ruled in favour of Selden. Ford appealed and, in 1911 , the US courts ruled against the Selden patent , the main reason being that the current automobiles use Otto cycle engine and not Brayton cycle engine.
Thus, one of the longest patent battle for the Automobile ended in 1911.
George Selden did found an automobile company in 1905 and they produced cars between 1909 and 1911.  The Selden Motor vehicle company ceased production in 1911.

 

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James Sumner (1860 – 1924) was a British Engineer involved in the manufacture of steam lawn movers and experimenting with self-propelled steam vehicles. In 1892 , he converted a tri-cycle to run on steam.

In 1895 , he designed and developed a 3 wheel steam car for Mr Theodore Carr.

In 1896 , he along with Henry Spurrier (1840 – 1922) and his sons Henry Spurrier II (1869 – 1942) and George Spurrier (1872 – 1946), formed the Lancashire Steam Motor Company in the town of Leyland. In 1897 , they introduced the first steam wagon.

1899/1900 saw the introduction  of stem passenger vehicles which started the bus business. Below is the 1900 steam bus sold to Dundee Motor Omnibus. In fact the first export was a steam mail van to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

While the company was manufacturing bigger and better steam trucks and buses, they were experimenting with Petrol-engine power also. In 1904, they introduced the first Petrol-engine Lorry , named as “The Pig”.

In 1907 , Lancashire Steam Motor company was renamed as Leyland Motors , taking the name of the town where it was located.

Leyland continued its domination of the Lorry and Bus market , shifting out of steam to petrol. In 1920, they introduced their car – Leyland Eight.

Leyland Eight was sophisticated and expensive and did not sell well. It was stopped in 1923.

Leyland continued its domination in the Lorry and Bus segment. Leyland was the first to design buses to maximize passenger space which led to the driver sitting on one side of the engine as well as Double-Decker buses. Below is a 1906 Leyland bus and a Double-Decker bus.

Leyland also had the concept of “Leyland Zoo” where the trucks were named after animals , including Octopus for their multi-axle trucks.

After the acquisition of Standard Triumph in 1963, the company was renamed as Leyland Motor Corporation. In 1968 Leyland Motor Corporation merged with British Motor Holdings (BMH) to form the British Leyland Corporation (BLMC). This merger brought in a bouquet of cars (Morris, Austin, Wolseley, Siddley, Standard, Triumph, Rover) under the BLMC umbrella.

In 1975, after financial problems, BLMC was nationalised and renamed as British Leyland (BL). In 1986 , they acquired the Rover group. In 1987 , the DAF group of  Netherlands acquired BL and the company was renamed as Leyland DAF.

1993 saw the bankruptcy of DAF group which led to the management take over as well as splitting in to Leyland trucks LDV Limited (for Vans) Leyland Bus and spare parts division LEX.

In 1998 , Leyland truck was sold to PACCAR group of USA and prior to DAF bankruptcy, Leyland Bus was sold to Volvo in 1988.

The Leyland Logo –

In India , Leyland still lives on in the form of Ashok-Leyland.