Percy Sinclair Pilcher

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Percy Sinclair Pilcher (16 January 1867–2 October 1899) was a Scottish aero inventor.

He was a Cadet in the Royal Navy from 1880–1887, after which he worked as an engineer at Randolph Elder & Co, then at Cairns & Co, then at Southampton Naval Works.[1]

Illustration of Pilcher's glider, "The Hawk" in 1896.

Pilcher served seven years in the Navy then went into civil engineering, first working for Maxim-Nordenfeld, then founding Pilcher-Wilson with Walter Wilson.[1].

Percy and his sister Ella started experimenting with model gliders in 1891. In 1895 they constructed the "Bat" and the "Bat Mark 2", which he flew at Cardross. He then created more gliders, "Beetle", "Gull" and "Hawk".[1]In 1894 he began experimenting with some Lilienthal dirigible parachute designs.[2]

In 1897 he became a member of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain.[2]

Pilcher died in a fatal crash when the tail of the Hawk broke mid-flight.[1]

Patents

Pilcher applied overall for ten patents, of which Jarrett judges three to be "important" and reproduces the patent filing in his book:[3]

  1. Patent GB-1893-20767 on Nov 2 1893 for a matchbox holder
  2. Patent GB-1893-20768 on Nov 2 1893 for covers for cups and glasses
  3. Patent GB-1894-15614 on Aug 17 1894 for a signaling apparatus; patent was "abandoned" possibly meaning it wasn't granted
  4. Patent GB-1893-21024 on Nov 2 1894 for captive balloons and kits; patent was "abandoned" possibly meaning it wasn't granted
  5. Patent GB-1896-9144 on Apr 30, 1896 for "Improvements in flying and soaring machines", granted Mar 6 1897
  6. Patent GB-1896-29194 on Dec 19, 1896 for "Improvements in sails for boats", with Walter Gordon Wilson, granted Dec 11, 1897
  7. Patent GB-1897-11619 on May 10, 1897 for "Furnace-gas and steam engines", granted Apr 16 1898
  8. Patent GB-1899-1100 on Jan 17, 1899 for "Electric light brackets" with Walter Gordon Wilson; patent was "abandoned" possibly meaning it wasn't granted
  9. Patent GB-1899-3941 on Feb 22, 1899 for "Wheels", with Walter Gordon Wilson; patent was "abandoned" possibly meaning it wasn't granted
  10. Patent GB-1899-10589 on May 19, 1899 for "Wheels", with Walter Gordon Wilson; patent was "abandoned" possibly meaning it wasn't granted
Patents whose inventor or applicant is Percy Sinclair Pilcher Letters sent by Percy Pilcher or Percy Sinclair Pilcher Letters received by Percy Pilcher or Percy Sinclair Pilcher

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Percy Sinclair Pilcher (1867-1899), engineer and aviation pioneer whose work predated and informed the success of the Wright brothers", Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame.
  2. 2.0 2.1 G. Blanchet, "Nécrologie: Percy Sinclair Pilcher"; L'Aérophile 8(1), January 1900, p. 7.
  3. Jarrett, Philip. 1987. Another Icarus: Percy Pilcher and the Quest for Flight, p 159
Names Percy Sinclair Pilcher
Birth date 1867-01-16
Death date 1899-09-30
Countries GB
Locations Glasgow
Occupations engineer
Tech areas parachute, glider
Affiliations Royal Navy, Aeronautical Society of Great Britain