Happy Birthday Charles Rolls: The Co-Founder of Rolls-Royce

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Speed, motor, aviation these words always inspired this young boy to become the first motorist in the campus of Cambridge to drive a Peugeot Phaeton bought from Paris. Hailing from a wealthy family, Charles Stewart Rolls (27 August 1877 – 12 July 1910) has many firsts to his credit. Though not physically present his accomplishments to the motor as well the aviation industry has laid a foundation for our routine activities to date.

To grace the occasion of his 142nd birth anniversary, here are few interesting yet less known facts about Charles Rolls – the co-founder of Rolls-Royce car manufacturing company.

Date of Birth: 27 August 1877


Died: 12 July 1910

  1. Interestingly, having a flair for speed Charles intended to increase the speed limit for the motorists. With the endorsement from his family and couple of his motorist enthusiast friends he influenced the government to increase the speed limit from meagre 4 miles per hour to 12 miles per hour this has been the significant jump in 1896.
  2. The first automobile rides of King George V and Queen Mary the then Duke and Duchess of York in 1900 was spearheaded by the 23-year-old Charles in his Peugeot with 3.75 horsepower when the Duke and Duchess visited the Charles residence the Hendre, a Victorian Gothic castle located in Llangattock-Vibon-Avel. Moreover, the 3.75 horsepower Peugeot was the 3rd automobile possessed all over Wales.
  3. C.S.Rolls & Co. his endeavour to initiate car dealerships in Britain as it is been the first car dealerships in Fulham, Britain. The firm imported the Belgian Minerva and French Peugeot vehicles to sell them in Britain. Charles received £6,600 of investment from his father in 1903 to propel the initiative.
  4. Rolls-Royce cars signify elegance for all the time with contemporary features loaded. The thought of building a new automobile evolved from the unhappy mind of Frederick Henry Royce with the design of Decauville a French automobile with 10 horsepower. Charles Rolls met Frederick Royce a railroad mechanic, engineer, and electrician in 1904 despite receiving only 2 years of formal education he successfully designed “Royce” automobile by spring of the year 1904. Further, by summer of the same year, Fredrick Royce constructed 2 more vehicles comprising 2 cylinders in all with 10 horsepower autos.
  5. Inspired by Royce’s inventions Charles Rolls got into the agreement with Royce on constructing the vehicles and Rolls took care of the selling part of it. The “Rolls-Royce,” the brand name is always written with a hyphen in between to signify the surnames of both the co-founders.
  6. Charles Rolls and Henry Royce founded the company in 1906 and the first car they made was the Rolls-Royce 10. Number 10 signified the horsepower with only 16 cars manufactured. Surprisingly, the two co-founders have never posed together.
  7. Charles Roll’s appetite required a lot more than motoring, he loved flying high. Hot air balloons catered his wish as he was part of around 170 ascensions. His enthusiasm for the new mode of transportation gave birth to the Royal Aero Club, followed by aeroplane flight. He was one among the 6 Wright Flyers to purchase the aircraft, and from early October 1909, he had successfully made more than 200 flights.
  8. On June 2, 1910, he became the first man to reach a new feat of flying across the  English Channel by plane. For this achievement, he was honoured with a Gold medal by the Royal Aero Club.
  9. Unfortunately, at the age of 32 years, soon after a month of his staggering achievement, he died in an air crash on 12 July 1910 – the First flying tournament of the year in England owing to the tail broke off the Wright Flyer during the flying display. He became the first Britain to be killed in an aeronautical accident involving powered aircraft. In remembrance of this tragic memory and to salute the great hero a statue of him holding a biplane model was raised in Agincourt Square, Monmouth.

“I do not think that a flight across the Atlantic will be made in our time, and in our time I include the youngest readers.”

The above lines of Charles Rolls signify his passion for a lot more inventions and innovations in the aviation industry. With his sad demise, the world lost a young aviation futurist and his deeds. Though, he lived a little more than three decades like a shooting star in the sky he has an everlasting impact on humanity with great creations.

The article is a part of the B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from across Industries, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or renewed leaders who moved the industry with his exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight thCharles Rollse person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayer, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.


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