George Herbert Skinner

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George Herbert Skinner (1872–1931) was a British boot and shoe manufacturer, enthusiastic pioneer motorist[1] and inventor of a well-known carburettor which remained in production almost the entire twentieth century until superseded by fuel injection systems.

Biography[edit]

Herbert Skinner was born in 1872 in Wellingborough the eldest son of boot and shoe manufacturer William Banks Skinner (1847-1914) and his wife born Jane Lilley.[2] In 1881 Banks Skinner entered into a partnership with his brother-in-law, Thomas Lilley (1845-1916), and they built a very successful footwear manufacturing and retailing business, Lilley & Skinner.

The eldest son, Herbert Skinner followed his father into the management of Lilley & Skinner.[3] He brought back Britain's first modern shoe-making machinery from an 1895 visit to USA.[1]

He acquired his first car in 1898 and actively participated in the development of the petrol engine.[1] Herbert with his brother Carl, Thomas Carlisle Skinner (1882-1958), made a newly developed carburettor in 1904.[4] In February 1905 Herbert applied for a full patent[5] which was granted in January 1906.[6] The new carburettor was made for the Skinner brothers by G Wailes & Co of Euston Road until the brothers formed a limited liability company in August 1910[note 1] to manufacture it themselves.[1] The original brand name Union Carburettor was changed to S. U. carburettor, an abbreviation of Skinner-Union.[7][8][9][10] Younger brother, Carl (Thomas Carlisle) Skinner (1882-1958) sold out of Lilley & Skinner and took over the carburettor business. Herbert remained with Lilley and Skinner[11] and continued to patent improvements to his carburettor.[4][12]

He was one of the founders and the vice-president of the Institute of Patentees and well-known in the City of London as an active member of the Cordwainers' Company. He represented England as a clay-bird shot in the 1908 Olympic Games and won a bronze medal.[1]

Herbert was father of Professor Herbert Skinner. He did not believe in early schooling. His son was nine years old before he entered Durston House School at Ealing.[5]

Herbert Skinner died suddenly at his house in Woodville Road, Ealing on 29 December 1931 aged 59.[13]

Diagram of original carburettor with leather bellows

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ S. U. Company Limited, 386—388 Euston Road, N.W. Capital £5,000 in £1 shares. Formed to acquire from G. H. Skinner certain inventions relating to carburettors for motorcars &c
    New Companies Registered. Private Companies. The Automotor Journal, 24 September 1910

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Obituary. Mr. G. H. Skinner. The Times, Wednesday, Jan 06, 1932; pg. 12; Issue 46023
  2. ^ FindMyPast census records
  3. ^ 'Lilley & Skinner, The Times, Tuesday, Jun 02, 1896; pg. 14; Issue 34906
  4. ^ a b E A Forward, Handbook of the Collections illustrating Land Transport, II. Mechanical Road Vehicles, Science Museum South Kensington, 1936
  5. ^ a b H. Jones: Herbert Wakefield Banks Skinner. 1900-1960. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol.6, (Nov. 1960), pp.259-268, publisher: The Royal Society
  6. ^ 3257 G H Skinner, Carburetting apparatus. reported in page 152, AutoMotor Journal 3 February 1906
  7. ^ Profile Professor Herbert Skinner, The New Scientist 14 November 1957
  8. ^ James Leasor, Wheels to Fortune, Stratus, Cornwall 2001 ISBN 0755100476
  9. ^ Colin Campbell, Tuning for Economy, Springer 1981 ISBN 9780412234903
  10. ^ Nick Meikle, Malloch's Spitfire: The Story and Restoration of PK350, Casemate 2014 ISBN 9781612002521
  11. ^ Obituary. Mr. Thomas C. Skinner The Times, Saturday, Nov 15, 1958; pg. 10; Issue 54309
  12. ^ Skinner-Union Carburettor Improvement. page 28, The Commercial Motor, 24 August 1920
  13. ^ Deaths. The Times, Thursday, Dec 31, 1931; pg. 1; Issue 46018