Former Automobile Manufacturer United Kingdom from 1901 to 1905
Weller Brothers from 1902 under the company Weller Brothers Limited , was at the beginning of the 20th century one of the first British car - and motorcycle manufacturing company, The company was based in West Norwood , now a southern district of London .
The sale of their own vehicles from March 1901 and ended in 1905. The two key shareholders were the engineer John Weller and businessman John Portwine. In 1904, they continued their joint work in a new company under the name Autocars and Accessories Limited ( A. and A. ) with the construction of small tricycle - Transporter car carriers. This resulted in 1907, the well-known, still existing car brand AC.
John Weller was the third oldest of seven brothers or nine siblings. At a young age, he proved himself to be an innovative, creative engineer, inventor and inventor, but initially had to earn his living doing odd jobs as a traveling mechanic. In 1899, at the age of 21, he joined his brother Harry and founded the company Weller Brothers, Engineers as a small automobile and motorcycle repair shop in West Norwood. Shortly thereafter, two other brothers took the work in the workshop and entered as a partner.
The four Weller brothers initially worked primarily as engine technicians and repairers for the first, still relatively wear-prone and maintenance-intensive cars and motorcycles. Import vehicles of the French manufacturer De Dion-Bouton and those of other French or English brands with built-in motors of this manufacturer formed in the early stages of the main focus of the Weller Brothers . Such vehicles with De-Dion Bouton engines were particularly widespread at the time. With a production of about 400 vehicles and about 3200 engines was De Dion-Boutonin 1900 the largest vehicle manufacturer worldwide. The Weller brothers quickly became a factory-recognized De Dion-Bouton specialist workshop; In 1902, the Automobile Club, later renamed the British Royal Automobile Club (RAC).
In parallel, began Weller Brothers 1901 cars of his own design to build , at first probably with unchanged or only slightly modified built-in motors of De Dion-Bouton and other manufacturers. March 8, 1901.In April 1901, the first preparations for a sophisticated, advanced luxury- class vehicle , the Weller Four Seat Tourer , began an open four-seat touring car with numerous innovations. John Weller and his brothers received support, especially of a financial nature, from the successful businessman John Portwine. In London and the surrounding area, he ran a butcher's shop with several brothers and at least eight branches at that time and was fascinated by the rapidly developing automotive industry.
From 1902, the company produced Weller Brothers addition own motorcycles under the brand name Weller with self-designed and self-built 1.75 hp and 2.25 hp motors (about 150 cc and 200 cc capacity ) and bicycle-like frame. In the same year, Portwine provided additional working capital to the Weller brothers, as the costs associated with the expansion of Weller's operations could no longer be met from current revenues and reserves. The former partnership was converted into a limited company, ie an unlisted, limited liability corporation under British lawLaw; In addition to the four Weller brothers, Portwine became a partner and managing director. A little later Portwine took over all shares for the price of £ 1700, paid out the Weller brothers according to their previous shares and again provided further working capital to expand the joint company activities.
In addition to ongoing business operations, John Weller continued to work on the Four Seat Tourer with self-designed and self-built four-stroke in - line engines with either two or four cylinders . In early 1903, the company hired the technician and automotive pioneer Felix W. Hudlass as an additional mechanic. They had from 1896 to 1902 under the name Phoenix Motor Works there own cars, some already with two-cylinder engine, manufactured in Southport in Lancashire .
Due to the good fair reviews, the company completed a tourer in the 20-hp four-cylinder version ; this was presented to the press in June 1903 and rated extremely positively. The search Weller and Port Wines for additional sponsors for series production ran ultimately without success. So was Charles Rolls indeed quite impressed, however, has preferred to be in May 1904, the conservative automobile pioneer Henry Royce unite to the car brand Rolls-Royce. The Four Seat Tourer Although proved technically well thought out, but would have become very expensive in a mass production. The financier John Portwine was farsighted enough, not in spite of his enthusiasm for the project and the already invested funds of its assets for an economically questionable series production of the Weller Four Seat Tourer to risk. The large 20-hp touring car therefore remained unique.
The construction of the elaborate, prestigious automobile and the attempts to market it were made by Weller Brothers Ltd. heavily burdened financially and in terms of time; Portwine therefore decided to voluntarily liquidate this company in 1904. The operation took over also based in West Norwood company Douglas S. Cox & Co. , which had previously briefly produced from 1903 to 1904 own automobiles and also light motorcycles under the brand name Emerald . Last motorcycles with the brand name Weller emerged 1905.
The "Weller Four Seat Tourer" car
The Weller Four Seat Tourer (also Weller 10hp Touring Car or Weller 20hp Touring Car or simply Weller Car , was an open four-seat touring car of the upper class, the beginning of 1903 in the form of two not yet ready to drive prototypes the British International Motor Show was presented. The vehicle had a self-designed and self-built four-stroke inline engine with either two or four cylinders and a displacement of about 2.0 or 4.0 liters. He aimed at the market, which served the little later created brand Rolls-Royce starting from 1904.With no additional investor to be found for mass production, Weller and Portwine abandoned the plans for mass production of the Four Seat Tourer ; it stayed with the one completed four-cylinder Tourer
After mass production of the Weller Four Seat Tourer proved to be too expensive, Portwine persuaded John Weller to design a smaller, more technically simpler, cheaper-to-manufacture vehicle for commercial use, for which he saw better marketing opportunities. So originated in 1904 for the Portwine and Weller owned company Autocars & Accessories Limited ( A & A ) with initial headquarters in the London district of Long Acre the tricycle car carrier . This developed in the aftermath of a major sales success and paved the way for the car brand AC Cars .
In parallel, John Weller tried in the first few years, a second pillar as a co-partner and engineer in the Hitchon Gear & Automobile Company Ltd. based in Accrington , Lancashire. This produced from 1904 to 1907 under the brand name Globe two car models, which were also known as Hitchon-Weller : on the one hand a vehicle designed by Alfred Hitchon 9-hp single-cylinder engine, on the other a model with a four-cylinder engine from White & Poppe . Both models had a Hitchon - freewheel and a per worm shaft driven rear axle.The latter design feature took over John Weller for later AC models, where it was used until the late 1920s. Both Globe -models but emerged only about twelve vehicles , then that Weller decided to focus exclusively on the common car carrier to concentrate project with Portwine.
Both worked until the resale of their respective company shares in 1922 in their joint venture, which in 1907 to Autocarriers Ltd. renamed, moved to Thames Ditton in Surrey in 1911 and later to the glorious sports car manufacturer AC Cars Ltd. has been. Under her leadership, in addition to the 1904 presented loader tricycle car carrier from 1907 based on the two or three-seater AC Sociable , from 1913 the light, four-wheeled AC 10hp with Fivet four-cylinder engine (also known as AC Fivet ) and from 1919 the AC 12hp with Four cylinder engine of theBritish Anzani Motor Company . Weller also developed during the First World War, the groundbreaking 2.0 -liter straight-six with light metal block and overhead camshaft , which contributed significantly to the rise ACs to the manufacturer of exclusive sports utility cars in the following years and was built with constant development until 1963.
Harry Weller and his two other brothers involved in the company Weller Brothers did not appear after 1904 appreciably in appearance. On the other hand, the youngest brother John Weller, Septimus Beresford Weller , seventh of the nine siblings and also engineer, inventor and owner of several patents, later came into contact with the founded by John Weller and John Portwine brand AC.
During the During the Second World War , the otherwise self-employed SB Weller was entrusted with armament contracts as an engineer in AC's Ferry Works hangars , especially in the manufacture of suspension components for British bomber aircraft.
The employee Felix W. Hudlass moved after the dissolution of the company in 1904 as chief engineer to the London-based Royal Automobile Club (RAC). He continued in this function over forty years until his retirement in October 1947. For his service during World War II, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE, fourth stage of the British Equestrian Order of Order of the British Empire ). Another former Weller -Staff called Bower also joined the RAC before assuming management positions at various companies or temporarily working as a freelance engine engineer.
The elaborate, sporty touring car ultimately remained an individual item, as additional sponsors lacked mass production.The name Weller 10hp Touring Car or Weller 20hp Touring Car refers to "10hp" or "20hp" on the engine .
The Weller Four Seat Tourer oriented conceptually and in terms of style on contemporary, but smaller De Dion Bouton models, such as the 1902 published single cylinder 8CV Type K and the 1903 published 1.7-liter twin-cylinder 12CV Type S (followed by a four-cylinder at De Dion-Bouton only in 1904 with the 2.5-liter model 15CV Type AD and the even stronger 24CV Type AI). The construction of the vehicle was slow, as Weller had to design most of the individual parts and make them individually in his workshop. Furthermore, Weller could only use the time that remained in addition to the regular, priority workshop orders of customers. Also, the funds had to be secured for the construction of the touring car, so from the ongoing operation of the workshop and financial advances of his partner Portwine, the full-time operation of its own butcher chain with branches in London and the surrounding area.The Weller Brothers Ltd. presented the vehicle at the British Motor Show in January and February 1903, which was held at the Crystal Palace in the Sydenham district of south London just a few miles from the Weller workshop in West Norwood. The not yet ready to drive vehicle was exhibited with the self-designed and self-built 20hp four-cylinder engine and the smaller 10hp twin-cylinder engine. The two owners and managing directors Weller and Portwine wanted to fathom the interest of the press and the public for a possible series production and, if necessary, find additional sponsors and distribution partners.In doing so, Weller intensified his search for additional donors for the series production of the touring car in 1903. He had almost prevented the emergence of the legendary car brand Rolls-Royce : 1903/1904 he met, inter alia, together with Charles Rolls , in order to secure its financial support and sales contacts. Rolls was impressed by Wellers innovative, sporty Four Seat Tourer , but also had concerns about the maturity of individual detailed solutions; Rolls therefore met with the designer of another luxury-class vehicle: On May 4, 1904 came to the - from today's perspective historic - meeting between Rolls and the more conservative automobile pioneer Henry Royceat the Midland Hotel in Manchester followed by a test drive in the new Royce 10 ; Rolls and Royce then sealed by handshake, then on December 23, 1904 with a written contract their further cooperation. The further search Wellers and Portwines for additional donors for a mass production was unsuccessful. Although the Four Seat Tourer proved technically well thought out, but too expensive for mass production. Portwine therefore convinced Weller to design a smaller, more technically simpler, and thus less expensive, vehicle for commercial use, for which he saw better marketing opportunities. With a ladder frame and rigid axles and leaf springs front and rear, the Weller Four Seat Tourer corresponded to the then usual model. For that time, the wheelbase was unusually long; The chassis was also strikingly low, resulting in a comparatively low center of gravity.Special feature was a subframe, which received the engine including exhaust and radiator and the transmission (with final drive by chain). Weller's goal was to decouple the chassis (with its torsional forces generated during the drive) and the powertrain (with its time-typical still strong engine vibrations): By deriving the twisting forces in the subframe, the drivetrain should be relieved and material fatigue prevented; conversely, the subframe should pick up some of the engine vibration to relieve the chassis, undercarriage and body and increase passenger comfort. With his idea, Weller anticipated the basic principles of the lattice frame and the space frame , as they later became established in the automotive industry. In fact, only the higher manufacturing cost and weight spoke against his solution at that time, which was insignificant in practice, given the generally high manufacturing overhead and powerful motorization. The principle of the lattice frame was found on later Weller constructions again, so from 1904 on the small-duty three-wheeled car carrier and from 1907 on the derived two or three-seater cycle car AC Sociable .According to a source, the chassis should have already been made of light metal. The steering of the Four Seat Tourer was on a - still relatively steep - steering wheel , while Weller at the later car carrier and AC Sociable returned to a simple lever mechanism. Weller devoted particular attention to the steering mechanics of the Four Seat Tourer and its geometry: it used the axle steering , as it had been independently developed in 1816 by Georg Lankensperger , 1875 by Amédée Bollée and 1891 by Carl Benz , but could change the mechanical load on the steering pins continue to reduce when cornering. For the large touring car Weller used balloon tires on conventional wooden spoked wheels (so-called "Artillery Wheels") with 12 spokes at the front and - because of the higher weight load on the rear axle - 14 spokes at the rear.
Engine and transmission
The drive of the Weller Four Seat Tourer basically followed the model then usual for luxury-class vehicles. The engine was an advanced water-cooled four - stroke gasoline engine with either two or four cylinders in a row, installed as a front engine behind the front axle with drive to the rear wheels. The engine had time typical a lower camshaft with side inlet and outlet valves ( SV valve control ); The valves were mechanical, ie in the form of a positive controlactuated. Due to the SV valve control resulted - despite relatively large displacement - a comparatively low overall height of the engine with a very simple design of the cylinder heads.The peculiarity of the 10hp two-cylinder and the 20hp four-cylinder was their modular design with individual cylinders ; Weller followed this early on a common part strategy : As many engine parts as many parts as connecting rods, pistons, cylinders, cylinder heads, valves, etc. were identical, only the crankshaft housing and crankshaft and camshaft differed in both versions by their different length. A three-cylinder version, as it was then popular with customers of competing models was planned as a 15hp model, as a small version with 8hp; a six-cylinderVersion with 30hp could have been postponed if necessary. In contrast, the following year , Henry Royce and Rolls-Royce used paired cast cylinders for the 10 hp , 20 hp and 30 hp models ; for the 1905 published three-cylinder model 15 hp Henry Royce therefore had to design and produce new cylinders specifically, which is why this despite good market opportunities in the same year was withdrawn from the offer.Exact engine data are not recorded for the Weller engines. The performance data and the presumed underlying abstract performance formula, however, allow for a conclusion about a bore of about 4 inches = 101.6 millimeters, as used by Rolls-Royce in his 1904 and 1905 introduced engines. According to the long-stroke design customary in England at that time, the cylinder stroke should have been around 4½ to 5 inches (114.3 to 127 millimeters); The 10hp two-cylinder would have had - similar to the shortly thereafter published Rolls-Royce 10 hp - a displacement of about two liters, the 20hp four-cylinder of about four liters. Analogous to the little later Rolls-RoyceModels, the performance of the two-cylinder model should have been around 8 kW / 11 hp , the four-cylinder model at about 15 kW / 20 hp (the abstractly determined power values and the actual power in hp were then still close together).Another innovation Wellers concerned an elastic coupling between the clutch and manual transmission , this also carried by the goal of keeping vibrations of the engine from the rest of the vehicle. The final drive was by chain; On the one hand, these were considered to be more robust at the time - at least for powerful vehicles - compared to a cardan shaft . On the other hand, this also corresponded to the Wellers concept of effectively decoupling the powertrain and chassis and thus preventing the reciprocal transmission of forces and vibrations.
Body and equipment
The body of the Weller Four Seat Tourer was basically the classic image of a four-seater touring car, but was relatively low and elongated, thanks to their low chassis for their time, making them look elegant and sporty. As with the motorcycle special weather protection was considered unnecessary, which is why the vehicle had neither side doors nor a windshield nor a hood. Since the roads were often unpaved at the beginning of the 20th century, served wide fixed front and elongated rear fenders (with treads for easier access to the front seats) as protection, as well as a vertical, rounded at the sides bulkhead between the engine compartment and passenger compartment.According to a source to the chassis and the body panels have been made of light metal. The design leaned more on contemporary French vehicles from De Dion-Bouton , Peugeot and Renault than on English models. Striking was a rather petite-looking, slanted, sporty-looking front without grille (the radiator was located deep in front of the front axle between the foothills of the leaf springs) and a narrow flat, slightly rising hood with numerous slanted ventilation slots on the side panel. Additional decorative elements, probably time-typical brass fittings, made the hood look even flatter and longer. The vehicle front showed great similarities to contemporary De Dion-Bouton - andPeugeot models and so far almost identical versions of today hardly known brands such as Achilles , Aster , Clement , Clement-Bayard , Darracq , Minerva , etc., was possibly taken over unchanged from there, as the Weller Brothers Ltd. primarily cared for the maintenance and repair of such vehicles.The Weller Four Seat Tourer had four elaborately upholstered seats in the form of semi-circular shaped bucket seats; The entry to the two rear seats was not from the side as is usual today, but a narrow approach in the rear of the vehicle, as used by De Dion-Bouton in individual Phaeton models from 1902. Also typical were two carbide lamps with brass casings on the right and left sides of the dashboard and a large horn mounted next to the steering wheel.