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D Napier & Son Limited produced a very diverse range of products over the existance of the Company. Always a precision engineering company Napiers products tended to follow the 'high end' requirements of the day.
Before the 20th Century many of the products were manufactured for high precision requirements. Be it coin and bullion balances for the Royal Mint or the first accurate stamp perforating machines for Somerset House. David Napier's reputation for invention and quality meant that he won many government contracts. This was something that the Company followed for most oif its existence - be it a cold press producing bullets that flew true right through to the Lion, Sabre and Deltic engines, etc that were fit for purpose.
When Montague Napier took over the business his attention turned to vehicle production ably assisted by his friend S F Edge selling the cars. This website includes a five page summary of the Napier Marque originally written by Derek Grossmark who was the VCC registrar of Napier vehicles. Derek also rescued and carefully preserved the Napier Car archives from the Company in 1961/2.
During WWI Montague Napier was very dissatisfied with the quality of the aero engines he had been asked to produce for the Royal Flying Corps. As such he self financed the development of the famous Lion engine. This engine was used in many aircraft between the wars and also fitted in many air, land and water record breakers. Indeed this engine paved the way for Napier powered craft to dominate these records through the first half of the 20th Century. During WWII Napiers developed the famous Sabre engine fitted in the Hawker Typhoon and Tempest. The Sabre was the most powerful piston engine produced in the War. Post-war engine development moved into gas turbine (Naiad & Gazelle) and turbo-prop (Eland) not to mention the Napier Nomad compound engine - the most fuel efficient aero engine developed. Napier's Luton Flight Development Establishment was also heavily involved in developing rocket motors including the Napier Scorpion which, in 1957, boosted a Canberra Bomber to an altitude of over 57,000 feet and another world record for Napier.
The Napier Lion engine was used by Hubert Scott-Paine and used by his British Powerboat Company. The marinised engine was named the Napier SeaLion. In 1943 the Royal Navy identified a requirement for a powerful 2,500 BHP marine diesel engine. In 1946 D Napier & Son started to design and build its famous Deltic marine engine which also saw use in rail and other land based applictions.
In 1942 D Napier & Son was absorbed into the English Electric Group of Companies. Amongst its diverse activities it manufactured large diesel engines. In order to increase their power it was found that fitting turbochargers made a huge difference. Drawing from experience in turbine technology Napiers developed a new business producing large turbo-blowers / turbochargers.
Another product of Luton's Flight Development Establishment was Spraymat de-icing equipment. This revolutionary product was used to prevent ice build-up on leading edes of aircraft wings, intakes, etc. D Napier & Son also produced many other products for other divisions of English Electric and external customers. These products included turbine blades, air bearings, precision casting and other specialist components.
To find out about the early products of D Napier & Son please click below.