George Dowty

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Sir George Herbert Dowty (27 March 1901 – 2 December 1975) was an English inventor and businessman.

Early life[edit]

Dowty (rhymes with cow tee) was born in Pershore, Worcestershire in 1901. He was sent to the Royal Grammar School Worcester after losing his right eye at the age of 12 playing around making a firework.[1]

He left in 1916 to take up a job as an apprentice for Heenan & Froude at a factory in Worcester. He later moved to Cheltenham to become a draughtsman for the same company. In 1918 Dowty became a draughtsman with the British Aerial Transport Company in London. He then joined the design office of the A. V. Roe & Company at Hamble near Southampton. In 1924 he went to the Gloster Aircraft Company where he worked on undercarriage design.[1]

Aircraft equipment[edit]

In 1935 he set up his own company in Cheltenham making aircraft equipment: for this purpose he leased a factory and bought Arle Court in Cheltenham.[1] Dowty invented the first internally sprung aircraft wheel (used on the Gloster Gladiator)[1] and by the time the Second World War had broken out the company was known as Dowty Aviation and was making the hydraulic systems in plants in Britain, Canada and the United States.[1] His equipment was also used in the Concorde jets.[2]

Dowty retarders[edit]

Dowty retarders

He also invented the "Dowty retarders" for use in rail yards


In 1956 he was knighted for his services to the industry.[1]

In 1961 he became the President of the Worcester Old Elizabethans' Association and amongst his other awards he was President of the Royal Aeronautical Society,[1] winning the RAeS "British Gold Medal" in 1955,[1][3] and President of the Worcestershire County Cricket Club.[1] He was given the Freedom of the Borough of Cheltenham[1] and Tewkesbury[1] and was a Deputy Lieutenant of Gloucestershire. He received an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Science) from the University of Bath in 1966.[4]

He died in 1975 in the Isle of Man[1] and although his company was acquired by TI Group in 1992,[5] an element of it still remains as Messier-Dowty, a subsidiary of the Safran Group and Dowty Propellers, a subsidiary of GE Aviation.


In 1948 he married Marguerite Anne Gowans.[1] She died in 2012.[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]