Patent GB-1897-3608

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Automatic rudder/fin control ; also refers to the idea that altering wing angles will exercise control over the course of the craft, without offering technique for it. IMPORTANT. Predecessor of wing warping. Wings have a good shape. mentions angling the wings rather like ailerons. GOOD design from 1897. Did he know Chanute's design?

Christine MacLeod, "Reluctant Entrepreneurs: Patents and State Patronage in New Technosciences, circa 1870–1930" (Isis 103(2), June 2012):

One patent that, in other circumstances, might have been foundational was Frederick W. Lanchester's for “Improvements in Aerial Machines” (no. 3608; 1897). Not only did it describe all the necessary elements of a fixed-wing powered airplane, but, exceptionally, it also distilled the theory that explained why such an aircraft would fly. It was listed in the first volume of the Aeronautical Journal; but it belied Baden-Powell's faith in patents as conduits of new knowledge, since in the following decade the society's members passed from ignorance of Lanchester's theoretical insights to incomprehension.
  • Inventor occupation: Engineer
  • Inventor location: Cobley Hill, Alvechurch, County of Worcester, England


Year filed 1897
Year granted 1898
Office GB
Patent number 3608
Inventors Frederick William Lanchester
Inventor country GB
Applicant person Frederick William Lanchester
Applicant firm
Applicant type INDIV
Applicant is inventor? Yes
Original title Flying machine with automatic rudder control
English title Flying machine with automatic rudder control
Tech fields airplane, airfoil, propeller, navigation, rudder
Filing date February 10, 1897
Full specification filed date December 10, 1897
Application number
Grant date February 10, 1898
Granted? Yes
Publication date
Supplementary to patent
Related to aircraft? Yes
Serial number
Patent agent Marks & Clerk
Assigned to
National tech categories GB 4 propel & steer, GB 4 starting, GB 4 aëroplanes, GB 4 without buoyant, GB 4 framework
Family year 1897
First filing? Yes
Number of citations
Cited by
Application ID
Number of text pages 7
Number of diagram pages 3
Number of figures 18
Number of claims 9