British Anzani - a company history
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The original Anzani Moteurs dAviation was situated at 112 Boulevard
de Courbevoie, Courbevoie, Paris and opened for business in 1907.
The first chairman of the new company was Dominic L. Santoni
a former director of British Deperdussin and listed in the company
documentation as an aviator. Many of his fellow directors
also had aviation in their blood. Lt. J.C. Porte was a naval officer
and well known pilot who had connections with the American company Curtiss
as well as also being a former British Deperdussin director.
W.R. Prentice was the third director with flying experience as was
Captain J.C. Halahan (Royal Dublin Fusiliers and R.A.F.) and Claude
Schofield. Schofields Anzani career wasnt longlived as
his name was removed from the company records in 1913 with the word dismissed
crossed out and resigned entered over it!
After World War I the British aviation industry contracted and consolidated behind the larger companies and many of the smaller firms disappeared. One of these was British Caudron who made no aircraft after 1919 and eventually went into receivership in 1924. In the depths of the War though they had needed more engines and had given British Anzani the finance to expand and build a production capability at their Willesden site. This led to their most productive year of the war delivering 107 100hp models. Later, a change in buying policy by the Allies meant fewer companies supplying the War effort effectively freezing out the smaller contributors and by February 1918 British Anzani had all but given up trying to compete in the aero engine business. They were still making spares for Curtiss however and doing development work for the Government. They refurbished and repaired old engines and were desperately trying to gain contracts for new engines - and it was with these brand new engines that British Anzani faced the post-war challenge.
One of these engines was to be a Hagens designed 35hp
60° V-twin of 1,100cc which eventually found applications in motorcycles,
light cars and aircraft right up until the start of the Second World War.
It was based on a 500cc single cylinder French Anzani engine that had
been sent over just after the War but Hubert Hagens development
skills produced a marvellously powerful engine that appeared in a multiplicity
of formats over the next 15 years. It was this little engine that took
Claude Temple to a land speed record on two wheels in 1923 and
powered AJW, OEC, McEvoy, Trump and Montgomery
motorcycles, Morgan sports cars and a score of different types
of light aircraft.
Airplane manufacturers liked the powerful little motor:
ANEC (The Air Navigation and Engineering Company) of Addlestone,
Surrey used it in their ANEC I & II monoplanes,
Mignet in their HM14, and Hawker powered their little Cygnet
biplane with it in 1924. The same year it also appeared in the Bristol
Prier-Dickson. The design was eventually purchased in 1938 by the Luton
Aircraft Company of Gerrards Cross, who had been fitting it to their
Luton Minor and Luton Buzzard range of homebuild light aircraft
popularly known at the time as Flying Fleas. The engine was modified yet
again by Luton with a slight over-bore and fitted with dual ignition and
a different carburettor and was marketed as the Luton-Anzani. Luton
went out of business during WWII.
In August 1919 Mr Ramsay resigned and British Anzani was reformed as a limited company under the joint control of Mr R.H. Simpkin (also general manager of the British Caudron factory at Cricklewood, north London) and Hubert Hagens.