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Sir George Cayley's Workshop

Sir George Cayley Bt is regarded by many as the father of manned flight. His workshop was the base where he developed his ideas, invented the spoked bicycle wheel, prosthetics and the catepiller track.

North Yorkshire
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YO13 9DB
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About Sir George Cayley's Workshop

Sir George is regarded by many as the father of flight. He developed the theories of flight that underpinned the work of later experimenters and was credited by the Wright Brothers. His flying machine, a steerable glider, took his coachman aloft over the dale opposite Brompton Hall in the mid 19th century ā€“ the exact date is not clear. In addition he invented what became known as the caterpillar track, the spoked bicycle wheel and did work on early prosthetics.

Sir George Cayley,c6th Baronet (27 December 1773 ā€“ 15 December 1857) was an English engineer, inventor, and aviator. He is one of the most important people in the history of aeronautics. Many consider him to be the first true scientific aerial investigator and the first person to understand the underlying principles and forces of flight and the first man to create the wire wheel.

In 1799, he set forth the concept of the modern aeroplane as a fixed-wing flying machine with separate systems for lift, propulsion, and control. He was a pioneer of aeronautical engineering and is sometimes referred to as "the father of aviation." He identified the four forces which act on a heavier-than-air flying vehicle: weight, lift, drag and thrust. Modern aeroplane design is based on those discoveries and on the importance of cambered wings, also proposed by Cayley. He constructed the first flying model aeroplane and also diagrammed the elements of vertical flight. He also designed the first glider reliably reported to carry a human aloft. He correctly predicted that sustained flight would not occur until a lightweight engine was developed to provide adequate thrust and lift.

Among the many things that he developed are self-righting lifeboats, tension-spoke wheels, the "Universal Railway" (his term for caterpillar tracks), automatic signals for railway crossings, seat belts, small scale helicopters, and a kind of prototypical internal combustion engine fuelled by gunpowder (Gunpowder engine). He suggested that a more practical engine might be made using gaseous vapours rather than gunpowder, thus foreseeing the modern internal combustion engine.

He also contributed in the fields of prosthetics, air engines, electricity, theatre architecture, ballistics, optics and land reclamation, and held the belief that these advancements should be freely available.

According to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, George Cayley was the inventor of the hot air engine in 1807: "The first successfully working hot air engine was Cayley's, in which much ingenuity was displayed in overcoming practical difficulties arising from the high working temperature." His second hot air engine of 1837 was a forerunner of the internal combustion engine.

The Red Wheel celebrating the site was kindly unveiled by Sir William Worsley Bt., Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire. William Worsley is a descendant of Sir George.

Located on the south side of the A170, on the west side of the village of Brompton.



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National Transport Trust, Old Bank House, 26 Station Approach, Hinchley Wood, Esher, Surrey KT10 0SR