- Historical event:
- 27 August 1877
- Since Charles Rolls showed an interest for engines and mechanics from an early age, his colleagues at Eton gave him the nickname “Dirty Rolls”. Soon after Rolls graduated, he met car producer Henry Royce. Rolls agreed to sell Royce’s cars through his dealership – in fact he became the exclusive seller of Royce’s cars. They soon decided to brand the cars Rolls-Royce. A legend was born.
The renowned Charles Rolls, founder of the Rolls-Royce company, was born to family of wealthy British aristocrats on this day.
His father was Lord Llangattock, a prominent figure in high society. Charles spent most of his childhood at the huge family estate in Wales, called The Hendre.
Charles attended the famous Eton College, where children of the social elite traditionally received their education. Since Charles showed an interest for engines and mechanics from an early age, his colleagues at Eton gave him the nickname “Dirty Rolls”.
After Eton, Charles Rolls enrolled at the renowned University of Cambridge, where he studied mechanics and applied science. Charles bought his first car, a Peugeot Phaeton, in Paris in 1896. When he returned to Cambridge, he was likely the only man in the city to own a car.
After graduating and receiving 6,600 pounds from his father, Rolls opened one of the first car dealerships in Britain, named C.S.Rolls & Co. He sold French Peugeots and Belgian Minervas.
Soon after that, a historic meeting between Charles Rolls and Henry Royce took place. Royce was a car producer, one of the first in Britain. They were introduced to each other through a mutual friend and first met on 4 May 1904 in Midland Hotel, Manchester.
Rolls agreed to sell Royce’s cars through his dealership – in fact he agreed to buy any and all cars Royce managed to produce. Rolls had thus become the exclusive seller of Royce’s cars. They soon decided to brand the cars Rolls-Royce. A legend was born.
The first Rolls-Royce model was dubbed the Rolls-Royce 10 hp (according to the power of its engine). Only 16 examples were made, of which only four have been preserved until today. One was sold in 2007 for around 4 million Euros.
Due to increased production demands, Rolls and Royce needed a new factory, which they opened in Derby, England. It remains the company headquarters to this day.
Charles Rolls died tragically, aged 32, the first victim of a plane crash in Britain. Rolls had, namely, bought one of the six aircraft produced according to the blueprints of the famous Wright Brothers.
These were actually the first functional powered aircraft in history. Charles had been piloting one of the fliers when its tail snapped off mid-flight. He crashed near the English coast and died instantly.