Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 149,638 pages of information and 235,472 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Harold Bolas

From Graces Guide

Mr. Harold Bolas, M.B.E., B.Sc, A.M.I.C.E., A.F.R.AeS., aircraft designer

1887 Born in Patricroft, son of James and Margaret Bolas[1]

1904-7 Trained at Nasmyth, Wilson and Co

1910 Gained his BSc in Mechanical and Civil Engineering at the Victoria University

1911 Aeronautical Engineer-Designer, boarding in Farnborough[2]

1916 Assistant technical adviser to the Director of Air Services, Admiralty Air Department; became an Associate Member of Inst Civil Engineers

1917 Bolas was released as a designer by the Royal Aircraft Factory and became the Chief Designer at Parnall and Sons. He produced the Panther Ship Aeroplane, of which a large number were ordered[3].

1921 Moved with George Parnall to his new company George Parnall and Co. He maintained an interest in light aircraft.

1927 Gained his aviator's certificate at Filton

1927 Designed a small, two-seater biplane: the Imp, which took 8th place in the 1928 King's Cup race.

Bolas' last design for Parnall was the Elf, a two-seater touring biplane in the de Havilland Moth class using fabric-covered wooden construction and powered by an ADC Hermes I which flew for the first time in 1929.

1929 Bolas moved to the USA.

1940 Harold Bolas 52, owner of an aircraft manufacturing business, lived in Providence, R. I. with Winifred G Bolas 49, Jill G Bolas 14, Deborah A Bolas 12[4]


  • An enthusiastic and respected designer, he was highly regarded for the originality of his designs and was a skillful theoretician. He was not above test flying his own creations, suitably fortified after a visit to the nearby Railway Inn pub! It is a fitting tribute to his work that one of his Elf biplanes should survive to this day with the Shuttleworth Trust, occasionally flying and entertaining the crowds at Old Warden in Bedfordshire.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1891 census
  2. 1911 census
  3. Flight, 2 December 1926
  4. 1940 census