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Percy Harry Frost Smith

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Percy Harry Frost Smith (1876-1924) of Tilling-Stevens

1924/25 Obituary [1]

Percy Frost-Smith was a well-known figure in the motor omnibus world. He was apprenticed to civil engineering, and after completion of his pupillage proceeded to Spain in connection with the electrification of the Madrid and Barcelona Tramways.

On his return to England he was associated with the British Electric Traction Co, and in 1899 became works manager of the Motor Traction Co.

After subsequent service with Milnes-Daimler, and with Petters, he joined Tilling-Stevens, as manager of their motorbus department. This position he occupied until 1922, when he established a service of motor omnibuses in London.

He died on 24th December, 1924.

He was elected a Member of the Institution of Automobile Engineers in 1910.

1925 Obituary [2]

PERCY HARRY FROST SMITH was born in London on 12th August 1876, and his school education was gained mainly at Silesia College, High Barnet.

In 1892 he became a pupil of Mr. Alfred Dickinson, consulting engineer, Birmingham, with whom he remained for six years, gaining experience especially on tramway construction, power station work, and surveys, and spending the last two years in Spain in connexion with the conversion of a mule-driven tramway undertaking in Madrid and Barcelona to electric system.

In 1899 Mr. Smith joined the survey department of the British Electrical Traction Co., London, and later on he spent two years as engineer with the Motor Traction Co., Ltd., with whom he gained his first practical experience of internal-combustion engines and of automobiles. In this connexion the first two 34-seater motor omnibuses introduced into this country came under his charge.

He then spent nearly two years with Messrs. James B. Petter and Sons, Ltd., oil-engine makers, Yeovil, returning however to London in 1905, to take up the position of chief engineer to Messrs. Thomas Tilling, Ltd. He operated this Company's first fleet of motor omnibuses and, four years later, in 1909, he designed and brought into existence the fleet of improved vehicles which took their place, the feature of the system employed being the "petrol electric," which later on became very popular, particularly for passenger transport work.

In 1912 Mr. Frost Smith was appointed Works Superintendent of Messrs. Tilling-Stevens, Ltd., Maidstone, being engaged on the production of petrol-electric vehicles, designed under his supervision.

In 1915 he was appointed Joint Managing Director, and during the war period he was engaged on important Government contracts connected with the production of gun sights, shell gauges, and other much-wanted items. After the Armistice he became again engaged in the production of commercial vehicles of all types and for all purposes, and later on, at the end of 1921, he started in practice in Westminster as a consulting engineer. He designed and built a new type of petrol-electric omnibus, known as the "F.S. Petrol Electric," of which some were in operation in London.

He became an Associate Member of this Institution in 1905 and was transferred to Member in 1909.

His death took place on 24th December 1924, in his forty-ninth year.

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