Inventions in Transport from Bradford

The Jowett Motor Manufacturing Company

Jowett Motor Manufacturing Company was an important part of the early British motor industry. The company was formed in 1901 by Benjamin and William Jowett with their sister Ruth in Bradford. The Jowetts were responsible for many innovations in early motorcars, such as: 

  • The  V-twin engine designed in 1901, resolved some of the main problems with early car engines, like noise and vibration. It ran more smoothly and became known as 'the little engine with the big pullí.

  • A three-cylinder air cooled engine, which could also be fitted into a car without a gearbox. There were problems with the design of the engine, however, and high production costs.

  • The 4-stroke twin-cylinder side valve horizontally opposed engine, designed in 1905, was extremely successful, as it was almost vibration free. It was still in use nearly 50 years later.

  • The Jowett car: After perfecting their engine design by 1910 the Jowett brothers started manufacturing a car. They wanted to make it in their own works and also make most of the parts themselves. The average speed of the car was just 20 miles per hour! They had to be careful to design the car with light materials and so the engine and gearbox were made of aluminium, a lighter metal.

    Twelve cars were produced and were sold by the end of 1911. They also worked on improvements, like a special hub to make it easier to fit the detachable wheels and a new method of preventing the gears slipping.

By the First World War, the company was an established British car manufacturer. 


Detachable - easy to take off

Established - well known and successful

Innovation - making or doing something new

Manufacturer - a factory making a large amount of a product

Resolved - sorted out


Watch a digital story 'Memories of the Mighty Jowett' on the My Yorkshire website, featuring the range of cars and vans produced by Jowetts until 1955 (see Related Links below).

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