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Lew (Lewis) Hunt Norris (1924-2009), engineer and designer of land and water speed record vehicles.
1924 September 20th. Born in Cuckfield, Sussex, son of William Norris (b.1879), engineer in charge of the gas works at Burgess Hill, and his wife Florence.
Attended Lewes Grammar School and West Ham Technical College
Apprenticed at Harland and Wolff in its London shipyard, building landing craft for D-Day
1947 Sailed from Liverpool for India
Worked for Burmah Oil in Burma, narrowly escaping when the communists took-over the country
1953 The first major project of Norris Brothers was the design of a new Bluebird, the K7, for Donald Campbell, which set 7 water speed records between 1955 and 1964. The successor to this, using a gas turbine propulsion system, was the one in which Campbell crashed and died in 1967.
1955 K. W. Norris and L. H. Norris began work on the design of Bluebird C.N.7, a gas turbine powered car, for Donald Campbell to attempt the land speed record. This was designed to aircraft standards, using honeycomb sandwich, to enhance the safety of the driver.
1958 Patent on apparatus for manoeuvering flexible pipes (with Norris Brothers of Burgess Hill).
1960 When CN7 crashed at more than 300 mph on Bonneville Salt Flats, Campbell avoided serious injury.
1960 BP asked Lew to design a low-cost "fun" racing vehicle for young people; using a lawnmower engine and a simple tubular chassis he developed an early go-kart.
1966 Patent for Worcester Valve Co for a rotary ball valve
Campbell gave Norris a new Austin saloon, to replace his old Ford Consul, in gratitude for his work on K7.
1976 Patent for a plug valve
Recognising that design would never make much money, Norris started to develop the manufacturing side of the business. The first product was a ball valve made under a JV agreement with Worcester Valve Co of USA (presumably Norbro Engineering); also developed a control system which was licensed to Worcester Controls Corporation. Norris became vice-president of the company.
Developed and patented the Flotronic pump for the Worcester company
1993 Patent (with others) for a system of fluid valves, for Cross Manufacturing Co
Norris also developed other companies that designed and made spool valves, packaging machinery, lift trucks and explosion-proof boxes
1997 Lewis Hunt Norris, of Alderney, applied for a patent for a flexible diaphragm for a diaphragm pump.
2001 Patent for a furniture system (on behalf of a Jersey-registered company)
2003 Patent application for a concave picture support
2009 February 15th. Died in Henfield