When this poor kid began tinkering with engines, nobody could have guessed that he would one day create some of the most expensive cars in the world. This is the story of Frederick Henry Royce, born in 1863 in Alwalton, England. Henry was the youngest of five children and his parents, James and Mary, ran a flower mill. Despite James following in his father’s footsteps, the family lived in poverty due to his lack of business skills. In 1867, they were forced to file for bankruptcy and moved to London in search of a better life.
Despite these early struggles, Henry never lost his passion for engineering. At the young age of four, he started his first job as a bird scarer on a local farm for a weekly pay of six pence. After his father’s passing in 1872, Henry had to contribute to the family’s finances by selling newspapers and delivering telegrams. Despite only completing one year of school, Henry educated himself in algebra, French, and electrical engineering and began an apprenticeship with the Great Northern Railway Works at the age of 15. However, he was forced to quit three years later due to a lack of money.
Henry continued to work in the engineering field, briefly at a tool-making company in Leeds and then for the Electric Light and Power Company in London. In 1882, he moved to Liverpool and continued to work for the Electric Light and Power Company. At the age of 22, he started a business with his friend and fellow engineer, Ernest Claremont. The company, FH Royce and Company, was focused on creating electrical components such as doorbells and dynamos. With hard work and determination, the company expanded and by 1894, they were already making electric cranes.
However, Henry’s true passion was for motor cars. He had a vision of creating the finest cars in the world and his hard work paid off when he teamed up with Charles Stewart Rolls in 1904. Charles, born in 1877 in London’s affluent Berkeley Square, was the youngest child of Lord and Lady Langatak. He had developed a passion for engineering from a young age and studied mechanical engineering at Trinity College in Cambridge. He gained a reputation for tinkering with engines and was the first undergraduate to own a motor car.
After graduation, Charles worked on a steam yacht and then at the London and Northwestern Railway. However, his true passion was for motoring, pioneering, and salesmanship. With financial support from his father, he opened one of the first car dealerships in Britain in 1903, CS Rolls and Co. He was an avid motorist, racer, and aviator, dedicating himself to importing and selling Pujo and Minerva cars.
The partnership of Royce and Rolls proved to be a success, with the creation of the Rolls-Royce brand. The brand’s reputation for luxury and quality quickly grew and it became synonymous with elegance and style. The company continued to innovate and push the boundaries of what was possible in the automobile industry. Today, Rolls-Royce remains one of the most recognizable and prestigious car brands in the world.
In conclusion, the rise of Frederick Henry Royce and Charles Stewart Rolls is a testament to the power of perseverance and determination. Despite facing many hardships and obstacles, these two men never lost sight of their vision and went on to create one of the most iconic brands in the world. Their story serves as an inspiration to all of us to never give up on our dreams and to always strive for excellence in everything we do.