|Company Name : Perkins Engines Co. Ltd.|
The company's founder and namesake, Frank Perkins, was born in Peterborough on 20 February 1889. His father and grandfather were engineers and the family firm, Barford and Perkins, manufactured agricultural machinery and road rollers.
While working at Aveling and Porter in Rochester Kent, Frank Perkins started to develop a light high-speed diesel engine with an engine designer, Charles Chapman. Before the engine was fully developed the Depression had bankrupted the company.
Frank was convinced diesel was the power unit of the future because of its superior fuel efficiency. He believed he could be the first to develop engines of comparable performance to petrol equivalents.
Frank set up a private company to realise his vision on 7th June 1932 at a time when the world was in recession and business was hard. Charles Chapman became Technical Director. The two men were very different. Frank was the enterprising aggressive salesman; Charles was a shy retiring genius. They were both convinced of the potential of diesel power and set about developing their first engine, the Vixen, from small premises and a workshop in the centre of Peterborough.
The first test run was made early on a Saturday evening in autumn 1932. The engine was started from cold by handle with the aid of combustion caps heated red hot in a coke stove and hurriedly fitted back into the combustion chamber. There were cheers as the engine fired and when it reached 4000 revs. It was swiftly switched off - there was no speed governor fitted. The Perkins engine was born.
In 1937 the remarkable P6 engine was designed with prototypes running 6 months after the original blueprints. The revolutionary P6 firmly established Perkins in the diesel market developing 83bhp at 2400 rpm.
By 1938 the engine range included Wolf, Lynx, Leopard I and II engines in vehicle, industrial, marine and agricultural versions, with specifications to cover 650 different applications. Frank had already acquired land at Eastfield for expansion with his vision of becoming a world leader. Perkins had started its rapid growth path to provide the world's diesel power needs.
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