BRISTOL

In 1909 aviation was not a polite subject for gentlemen to take seriously. Amazingly, at Bristol Sir George White Bt., brother Samuel and son George Stanley White decided to sink personal fortune in creating major aircraft company. One of their companies was Bristol Tramways, and the decision was announced at AGM in Grand Hotel 16 February 1910, emphasizing that not one penny would be taken from Tramways stockholders. Registered companies, chose name British and Colonial Aeroplane Co. Began by making French Zodiac (Voisin-type) biplane in tramways sheds at northern terminus at Filton. Unsuccessful aircraft, so G.H. Challenger produced improved version of Farman, result being Bristol Boxkite, 76 built. Flying schools established at Brooklands and Larkhill. First World War production included 371 agile Scout biplanes, 125 M.1C monoplane fighters and (including production by others) 5,252 of superb F.2B Fighter. Mainly to avoid excess war profits, business transferred 6 March 1920 to ad hoc Bristol Aeroplane Co. (another registered 1910). At same time formed Engine Department to develop Jupiter and other engines designed by Roy Fedden formerly of Cosmos Engineering, and this business quickly became more important than aeroplanes. Most 1920s prototypes single-engined biplanes, by far most important being Type 105 Bulldog fighter (443 built 1927-34). Type 130 Bombay transport flown 1935, 50 built by Short & Harland. Type 138 height-record aircraft 1936. Type 142 high-speed transport, pioneer British stressed-skin monoplane (12 April 1935), leading to 142M Blenheim bomber (25 June 1936), 5,486 of several versions. Type 152 Beaufort torpedo bomber (15 October 1938), 1,380 plus 700 DAP Australia. Type 156 Beaufighter (17 July 1939), 5,564 plus 364 DAP Australia. In 1942-9 production included Type 163 Buckingham (123), 164 Brigand (147) and 166 Buckmaster (112). Only one Type 167 Brabazon flew (4 September 1949), but 214 Type 170 Freighters (2 December 1945) were built, and 178 Type 171 Sycamore helicopters (27 July 1947). Type 173 helicopter remained prototypes, and derived Type 192 Belvedere (26 built) was passed to Westland. Final designs were Type 175 Britannia (16 August 1952) long-range airliner (85 built) and two Type 188 supersonic research aircraft (1962). On 1 July 1944 overdue formation of Aircraft Division and Engine Division took place, and these became separate companies, Bristol Aircraft and Bristol Aero-Engines, January 1956. Former became 20% of British Aircraft Corp. February 1960. Latter became 50% of Bristol Siddeley Engines April 1959 (bought by Rolls-Royce 1966).

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