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British Industrial History

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E. L.-S. Engines

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of 29 Spring Gardens, Whitehall SW1

c.1921 Peter Hooker Ltd started experimental work on the E. L.-S. engine[1]

1926 Patent on pistons with E. Lanzerotti-Spina, of Stamford Brook, London W 6.


ELS Stromboli Engine

The Peter Hooker company built the ELS Stromboli engine, intended for airships and large transport aircraft. It was enormous by aero engine standards, being 10 ft long and having 12" bore cylinders and running at low speed. It was designed by Ettore Lanzerotti Spina, (hence the acronym ELS), originally from Sicily. Hooker's works manager at the time was Hedley Thompson, who had been closely involved in the evolution of the Newall gauge system. George Purvis Bulman described the unnerving business of being near the engine when running on the test bed, particularly when it stopped suddenly with a loud bang. He noted that the development attracted young engineers and apprentices who were destined to become prominent in the aero engine field, including Eric Moult, E. L. Emtage, Reggie Schlotel, Rod Banks, and Wallace Devereux. Development stopped when the market for the engine disappeared.[2].

Air Commodore F. R. Banks wrote a letter to 'Motor Sport' magazine saying that he had been an experimental engineer to Messrs. Peter Hooker, responsible for the development of the Stromboli engine, 'designed by a charming and gentlemanly Italian engineer, Ettore Lanzerotti Spina'. The cylinder were 12" bore, 6" stroke, and the engine was designed to give 1,500 b.h.p. at 900 rpm and directly drive a 20 ft. diameter propeller. It had eight valves per cylinder (four inlets and four exhausts), this valve arrangement being the subject of a Lanzerotti patent [see US Patent No. US1459630 A ]. In early running, the crankcase, cast in "Alpax", a light silicon aluminium alloy, failed at all the main bearing diaphragms, and an all-steel crankcase was then designed and made by Peter Hooker. The highest power output achieved was 1,475 b.h.p. The Air Ministry wanted the engine to be converted from petrol to diesel, but the whole contract was cancelled in 1928, when development work had started on a single cylinder test engine.[3].


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times Apr 12, 1921
  2. 'An Account of Partnership - Industry, Government and the Aero Engine: The memoirs of George Purvis Bulman' edited and with a commentary by M. C. Neale, Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust, Historical Series No. 31, 2002. 376 pages
  3. 'Motor Sport', April 1974, p.74