Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dr Low's Rocket Cycle.

Via: the vintagent

"Archibald Montgomery Low was a pioneer of rocket exploration, and is considered the father of radio guidance systems for rockets, planes, and torpedoes. He was a fascinating character; in 1904, when he was 16 years old, he invented the first 'pre-selector' gearbox. In 1914, he invented an early form of television (which he called TeleVista, or 'seeing by wireless'). In 1917, during WW1, he created an aerial drone plane for the Royal Flying Corps, which was radio controlled and intended as a guided bomb - during this experiment he also built the first electric/gyroscopic plane control system. Also in 1917, he created a radio-controlled rocket. In 1916, he published a book, 'The Two Stroke Engine, a Manual of the Coming Form of Internal Combustion Engine'. He 40 other books on technical matters, and a few sci-fi titles and held nearly 100 patents.

While the British military authorities thought him something of a crank, the Germans realized how dangerous his inventions could be... so after trying twice to kill him (first using an assassin with a gun, then a strychnine-laced cigarette), they used his research during the 1930's to create their 'V' bombs.

Low's scooter patent

In the 1920's, one of Low's projects which came to commercial fruition was a scooter, built by the Low Engineering Company, with funding from Sir Harry Norman (no relation to Norman motorcycles); several patents from around 1922/3 indicate that the scooter would have had a monocoque chassis of pressed steel panels possibly with 'sprung wheels'

Low was a Brooklands habitue in the 20's, and gave a 'Professor Low' cup for a 3-wheeler handicap race on July 29, 1922. He was Chairman of the ACU for 24 years.... certainly a fellow who deserves a bit more attention, or maybe a feature length film starring Russel Crowe."

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