His first invention – a draughtsman’s drawing aid to rule equidistant lines – was registered in November 1888 when he was just 22 years old. Automotive patents include power-steering from 1903, four-wheel-drive from 1904 and petrol-electric hybrid propulsion from 1910. But he didn’t stop there, with aeronautical patents preceding the Wright Brothers with ideas for fantastic flying machines from 1897 and even more bizarre creations including a rotating fireplace from his brother Frank!
Between 1888 and 1946 Fred Lanchester (and his brothers) successfully patented over 200 hundred inventions. They are all available to search in the patent area of the online archive but the sheer variety as well as quantity can be overwhelming!