Open/Close Menu A website, archive and interactive space celebrating one of Britain's most innovative engineers and inventors, Frederick Lanchester

In December 1902 Fred patented an invention that offered ‘…an improved form of brake mechanism for power-propelled vehicles and…particularly to an improved construction of road wheel brake.’ The new system was featured in the Lanchester 18 h.p. model.The original patent can be found here.

Unfortunately the system wasn’t a complete success – due to the state of the roads in the early 1900s the metal pads quickly wore down due to mud and dust. At that times roads were not tarmaced or concreted. However it was undoubtedly a farsighted design as the Jaguar racing team demonstrated the superiority of disc brakes in the 1953 Le Mans 24 hour race where cars had to frequently brake hard on the high speed course. Mass production of brake pads began with the 1955 Citroën DS and today brake discs are used almost every car on the road.

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