Owen Finlay Maclaren
He was born in Saffron Walden in Essex to Andrew Maclaren and Eva (née Friend). His father died in 1914. His family descended from the Clan MacLaren in Argyll. He attended Marlborough College and Blair Lodge Academy in Polmont, Falkirk. He studied at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he learnt to fly in Cambridge University Air Squadron, qualifying as a pilot in 1928.
He first worked for Esso. Then he moved.
He designed Spitfire undercarriage legs when working for Maclaren Undercarriage Company Ltd, and while living in West Drayton, Middlesex. In 1944, he retired from aeronautical design, forming the company Andrews Maclaren that manufactured aircraft components.
The Maclaren Drift Undercarriage
In 1937, he designed a system for an undercarriage that could cope with cross winds, in which the main wheels could be set to a steering angle away from straight ahead, so that an aircraft could be landed safely in a "crabbing" attitude. Tests with several aircraft types were conducted during and after World War II.
He designed the 'Maclaren Radiator' in 1943. It doubled the chances of an aircraft returning, if hit by a bullet.
Collapsible baby buggy
The former test pilot and designer of the Supermarine Spitfire undercarriage was inspired when his daughter visited from Moscow with his first grandchild (Anne Hambledon, born in 1962). His daughter had married George Hambledon of Pan Am, making many flights to London. After watching the parents struggle with the clumsy conventional pushchair, he used his knowledge of lightweight, collapsible structures to create a new generation of infant transport and inspire the design of future collapsible objects such as the Strida bicycle.
He designed his first buggy in 1964, which was built in his medieval farmhouse stables in Barby, Northamptonshire in England just south of Rugby. He applied for a patent, on 20 July 1965, for his 6lb B01 prototype with lightweight aluminium tubes receiving Patent No. 1,154,362. On 18 July 1966 he filed for an American patent, receiving Patent No. 3,390,893A.
He then founded his company, the Maclaren Company, in 1965.
Only after this design would aluminium tubes be used in other household equipment. The buggy went on sale in 1967, and roughly a thousand of them were manufactured that year. In 1976 that number rose to 600,000 buggies produced a year.
. He also designed the 'Gadabout folding chair' which was produced from 1961, and was commissioned by the Ministry of Health to design a larger folding buggy for larger children with disabilities called the 'Buggy Major' this buggy was designed on square tubes instead of the usual round tubes like the 'Baby Buggy', being produced around 1970.
He was married to Marie Blacklock, and they had a son (who married on 15 June 1963, then moved to Hatfield Peverel in Essex, having a son in March 1965 and a daughter in April 1968) and daughter (1937–90). His grand-daughter, Anne Hambledon, for whom the baby-buggy was designed, now lives in Vermont.
- "Strip Aerodromes" Flight via Flightglobal, 1 September 1938, p. 178.
- "Strip Aerodromes" Flight via Flightglobal, 1 September 1938, p. 179.
- "Strip Aerodromes" Flight via Flightglobal, 1 September 1938, p. 180.
- "Making One Runway Do" Flight via Flightglobal, 16 March 1944, p. 291.
- "BBC - A History of the World - Object : The Original Maclaren Buggy". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
- R. Roy. (2004).
- , "Structures for folding baby-carriages, chairs, and the like", issued 1966-07-18
- Gapper, John (11 November 2009). "How not to take care of a brand". Financial Times.
- Hann, Michael (20 March 2002). "Michael Hann says happy birthday to the Maclaren buggy". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
- R. Roy. (2004). Creativity and Concept Design. (p. 63). Open University Worldwide Ltd. ISBN 0-7492-5908-6.
- Rosalind Sharpe. (23 September 1995). Mother of invention. The Independent. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
- Annabel Freyberg. (2008). Design notebook: Baby buggy. The Telegraph.
- Per Mollerup. (2001). Collapsible: The Genius of Space-saving Design. (p. 114). Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-3236-8.
- John Gapper. (19 September 2003). Wheels of fortune. FT.com. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
- Presentation on Owen Finlay Maclaren and the history of the Maclaren company.
- His granddaughter sees his inventions at Duxford
- US Patent 2222850 Aircraft Undercarriage, dated 26 November 1940
- US Patent 2315901 Endless Track Element for Aircraft and Land Vehicles, dated April 1943
- US Patent 3124387 Seating structures, dated March 1964
- US Patent 3390893 Structures for Folding Baby-Carriages, Chairs, and the like, dated July 1968
- US Patent 3736021 Folding Wheel Chair, dated May 1973
- US Patent 3968991 Collapsible Seat Structures, dated 13 July 1976
- US Patent D246518 Baby Carriage, dated 29 November 1977
- US Patent 4232897 Lie Back Buggy, dated 11 November 1980 (awarded posthumously)