Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Tom Lawrence Williams

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Tom Lawrence [Laurie] Williams (1890–1964), motor engineer and entrepreneur

WWI Joined Triumph Cycle Co where he worked on the company's first fully chain-driven motorcycle; he gained patents on gearbox and suspension designs

1924 Williams left Triumph for Dunelt in Birmingham, subsidiary of Sheffield's Dunford and Elliott, where he developed a range of motorcycles including commercials—van and pick-up sidecars.

1930 Joined Raleigh Cycle Co where he worked on the Ivy Karryall which he redesigned as the Raleigh LDV. Later became chief designer

1934 left Raleigh and designed his own 3-wheeler

With his Raleigh colleague Ewart S. "Tommo" Thompson he built the prototype, called The Reliant.

1935 Williams and Thompson converted a former Midland Red omnibus garage near Tamworth into a factory. The first order was delivered on 3 June 1935 and the Reliant Engineering Company (Tamworth) was incorporated in August.

1962 sold control of Reliant to Gwent and West of England Enterprises, run by Sir Julian Hodge.

1964 Retired as managing director in February but remained as chairman.

Died on 5 March 1964, at Burton upon Trent General Hospital



See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Biography, ODNB [1]