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British Industrial History

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Leo Joseph Shorter

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Leo Joseph Shorter (1886-1965)

1886 Born in Coventry to Joseph Shorter and his wife Catherine Anne Dyke

1901 Living at 19 Cromwell Street, Coventry: Joseph Shorter (age 41 born Wolverhampton), a Steel Turner Cycle Trade. With his wife Catherine (age 42 born Coventry) and their children Leo Shorter (age 15 born Coventry), Assistant Draughtsman; Hubert (age 13 born Coventry), Factory Errand Boy; Stephen (age 11 born Coventry); Agnes (age 9 born Coventry) and Catherine (age 4 born Coventry).[1]

Worked for Duryea Co, Humber and Sunbeam before designing for Arrol-Johnston

Later with Calcott Brothers and Coventry Climax

1911 Summoned for negligently driving a car belonging to Humber where he was employed as a designer [2]

1914 January 7th. Married at St. Mary's R.C. church, Coventry, to Lilian Louis Moore. LJS of 5 Stoke Park, Coventry. [3]

1914 Moves from Humber to Sunbeam.[4]

1914 Chief draughtsman for Sunbeam

1918 Joins Arrol-Johnston from Sunbeam as Chief draughtsman [5]

1932 Appointed Chief Engineer of Singer to design the Singer Nine

1965 Died

1966 Obituary [6]

"Mr Leo J. Shorter, an automobile engineer of the old school and a leading personality in the Motor Industry for over 50 years, died on 26th November at the age of 80.

Born in Coventry, he began his work in automobile engineering at the start of this century and in 1904 he joined Humber Limited to work on motor car design.

During the 1914-18 war he was with Sunbeam as Chief Draftsman working on a wide range of military aircraft engines. When motor car manufacture started up again, he returned to Humber in 1919 to be responsible for the design and development of all the Company's cars for the next five years. Then he designed two cars for Calcott and a variety of engines. He joined Singer Motors in 1932, became Technical Director in 1947 and continued this association when Singer was merged with Rootes in 1956 until his retirement in 1958.

Mr Shorter was an enthusiast and his design and development activities ranged over the whole motor car but his forte was engine design; the Singer Sports cars of pre-war days were his greatest success.

He was for many years a member of Council of the IAE and later of the Automobile Division until 1951. He was particularly active in the Coventry Centre.

A music lover and organist, kindly in character, we mourn him as a good friend and, in a wider sense, we have lost a link with the formative years of the motor car."

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1901 Census
  2. Leamington Spa Courier - Friday 16 June 1911
  3. Coventry Evening Telegraph - Thursday 08 January 1914
  4. The Autocar 1914/07/07
  5. [1] Flight Global 19th September 1918
  6. 1966 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries