Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Percival Waddams Petter

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Percival Waddams Petter (1873-1955) of Petters - engine and aircraft manufacturer

1873 Born at Yeovil, Somerset. Son of James Bazeley Petter of Barnstaple; twin brother of Ernest Petter.

1890 Left school to start apprenticeship in father's ironmongery and foundry business.

1899 Article on heavy-oil engines.[1]

1901 Living at 16 High Street, Yeovil: James Petter (age 54 born Barnstaple), Ironmonger and Employer. With his wife Charlotte Petter (age 54 born Bristol) and their children Guy Petter (age 28 born Yeovil), Engine Maker; Percival Petter (age 27 born Yeovil), Iron Founder; Hugh Petter (age 26 born Yeovil), Ironmonger; Mary Petter (age 25 born Yeovil); Claude Petter (age 20 born Yeovil), Glove Manufacturer; Evelyn Petter (age 11 born Yeovil); Gertrude Petter (age 24 born Yeovil); and Richard Petter (age 9 born Yeovil). Also one visitor and three servants.[2]

1901 Iron founder, employer[3]

1901 The twin brothers purchased the business from their father, becoming joint managing directors. Reorganized as James B. Petter and Sons Ltd.

1904 Married Emily Kennan of Dublin, daughter of one of the sales agents of Petters. Four daughters and two sons.

1915 Managing Director of Petters Ltd.

1919 One of the 'Pilgrim Preachers', who preached on a journey between Bath and London.

1925 Elected mayor of Yeovil (to 1927).

1932 Percy designed a mechanical desk calculating machine, the Petometer, which sold in small numbers. The company had obtained a patent on calculator technology in 1923 and two more in 1930. Guy Bazeley Petter then took out equivalent US patents and assigned the rights to the company. The company subsequently sold its calculator designs to the Bell Punch company.

1938 Resigned as vice-chairman of Petters on sale of business to Brush Electrical Engineering Co.

Second marriage to Ruth Penson-Harris.

1955 Died at Christchurch, Hampshire.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Autocar 1899/03/18
  2. 1901 Census
  3. 1901 census
  • Sir Ernest Willoughby Petter, by Anne Pimlott Baker, ODNB.