Elliotts of Newbury

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Elliotts of Newbury was a British company that became well known for manufacturing gliders

Beginnings and World War II[edit]

The company was founded by Samuel Elliott in 1870 as a joinery works as "Elliott’s Moulding and Joinery Company Ltd" It produced ammunition boxes during the First World War made by a workforce of 90 per cent women. It changed to furniture production after the war. In the Second World War, once more a largely female workforce produced components for aircraft, including the Supermarine Spitfire, Tiger Moth, De Havilland Mosquito, the Airspeed Oxford and the Airspeed Horsa glider. Elliotts built about one third of the total Horsa production and it was also responsible for a powered version of the General Aircraft Hamilcar glider.

The Olympia[edit]

EoN Olympia glider being bungy-launched

At the end of the war, the firm had hoped to resume furniture manufacture but in those times of austerity this was not allowed by the Board of Trade. The company therefore planned to continue with aircraft production. Its first product was the Elliotts Newbury Eon four-seat light aircraft. However the company had also been asked in 1945 by Chilton Aircraft Ltd to make one set of wings for the Chilton Olympia, a glider that was a copy of the DFS Olympia Meise. To maintain employment, Elliotts retained the right to the wing jigs they had made. Chilton was unable to make more gliders by itself without the jigs from Elliotts, and so Chilton gave up all aircraft work, agreeing to sell to Elliotts the production rights, fuselage jigs, and work in hand on all their Olympia gliders. Production of the EoN Olympia commenced in 1946 as a batch of 100, and the first flight was made in January 1947.

Other aircraft projects[edit]

The Olympia was followed in 1948 by the production of two further German-designed gliders, the Grunau Baby 2b known as the Baby EoN and the SG 38 Schulgleiter primary glider known as the Primary EoN. Elliotts and their design consultants Aviation & Engineering Products Ltd made improvements to each of the designs before starting production.

The prototype of the Newbury Eon light aircraft made its first flight in August 1947. Aviation & Engineering Projects Ltd also worked with Elliotts on an abortive side-by-side trainer project, the Eon T.16/48 derived from the four seater but no further aircraft were produced. However the company acted as a sub-contractor making parts for other aircraft. The Primary flew in 1948 and 80 had been built when production ceased in 1958.

Later Olympias[edit]

After building three marks of the Olympia, another improved version, called the EoN Olympia 4, later known as the 401, was built in 1954 and this was followed by the 402 in 1956, the 403 in 1957, and in 1958 by the Open Class EoN Olympia 419 and the EoN Olympia 415 for the fifteen-metre FAI Standard Class. The 415 did not go into production, and only eight 419s were built.

The EoN Olympia 460 was built in 1961 as a completely new Standard Class glider. A special version, the EoN Olympia 465, was developed for the 1965 World Gliding Championships.

Closure[edit]

In the summer of 1965 the Managing Director of Elliotts, Horace Buckingham, died. The company reviewed its business and decided that glider production was unprofitable. Slingsby Sailplanes Ltd agreed to take over the production of EoN sailplanes in 1966, but no Elliott designed glider was ever built by them, though spares were supplied and repairs were undertaken.

Elliotts closed in 1974. The factory was demolished in the late 1970s to make way for Bayer's UK headquarters.

Aircraft[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]