Alexander Eric Moulton
9 April 1920
|Died||9 December 2012 (aged 92)|
King's College, Cambridge
|Awards||Order of the British Empire|
Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering
Moulton was educated at Marlborough College and King's College, Cambridge. He was the great-grandson of the rubber pioneer Stephen Moulton, the founder of the family business George Spencer Moulton & Co. Ltd., in which he worked after World War II, specialising in rubber suspension systems for vehicles. His father, John Coney Moulton, was a naturalist working in the Far East.
During the war he worked on engine design at the Bristol Aeroplane Company. In the late 1950s, after the acquisition of the family business by the Avon Rubber Company, Moulton started up a new company, Moulton Developments Limited, to design the suspension system for British Motor Corporation's new small car, the Mini, that was being designed by his friend Sir Alec Issigonis. The combination of conical rubber springs and small wheels was one of the many innovative developments that allowed Issigonis to achieve the Mini's small overall size. This was later refined into the hydrolastic and hydragas suspension systems used on later British Leyland cars such as the Austin Maxi, Austin Allegro, Princess and Rover Metro, and most recently on the MGF.
Awards and honours
In 1976, Moulton was awarded the CBE for services to industry. Other honours include:
- The Diploma di Medaglia d'Oro, Milan (1964)
- Queen's Award for Technical Innovation (1967)
- Honorary Doctorates from the Royal College of Art (1967), University of Bath (1971) and Cranfield University (1994)
- Elected to the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry (1968), Master of the Faculty from 1981 to 1983
- Fellow of The Royal Academy of Engineering (1980)
- Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Engineering from 1985 to 1988
- He has an entry in the Golden Book of Cycling, which he signed when he was 71
- In 1997 he was awarded the Sir Misha Black award and was added to the College of Medallists
Dr Moulton died on 9 December 2012 at the Royal United Hospital, Bath. His funeral, which was attended by 'Moultoneers' from all over the world, took place at Holy Trinity Church at Bradford-on-Avon on 19 December, after which he was interred in the family grave at Christ Church in the same town beside his great-grandfather, Stephen Moulton, who founded the Moulton dynasty in the Wiltshire town in 1848.
- Austin Gipsy, Austin's Land Rover competitor with all-independent suspension using Moulton's 'Flexitor' suspension units.
- Weber, Bruce (18 December 2012). "Alex Moulton, Creator of Quirky Small-Wheeled Bike, Dies at 92, New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- Nahum, Andrew (10 December 2012). "Alex Moulton obituary | The Guardian". London. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- "Alex Moulton Obituary, The Daily Telegraph". London. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- "Dr Alex Moulton CBE 1920 – 2012". Archived from the original on 25 November 2003. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- "Dr Alex Moulton Dies". BikeRadar. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
- Parnell, Brid-Aine (11 December 2012). "Dr Alex Moulton: 'An inspiration for generations of engineers'". The Register. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "ALEX MOULTON". MiniWorld. Retrieved 8 March 2006.
- "MOULTON Bicycle Company". Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- "The Sir Misha Black Medal | Misha Black Awards". mishablackawards.org.uk. Retrieved 29 April 2014.