THREE BRILLIANT BROTHERS
In 1893 two brothers strained their necks from the roof of 15 Friar Gate, Derby..
“Breathlessly we scrambled up through the skylight on to the roof of our house in Friar Gate, from whence we trained a telescope on to a coal-gas balloon and watched every movement...................... This man had the world to himself – what a tremendous adventure waited for him who possessed such a balloon. The imagination of Jules Verne could not improve upon it” - Oswald writing in later years and giving an insight into his famous future.
Oswald and Eustace worked for a year on the theory and construction of balloons before Eustace went to Mexico to bring back their brother Horace – the wanderer, following the death of their father Samuel and subsequent pecuniary difficulties.
In 1898 Eustace and Oswald used five hundred pounds (from Horace) to buy a coal and coke business in New Maldon, South London. They bought a second hand coal gas balloon. 1901 saw the two brothers building their first balloon.
By 1903 they were selling balloons to the Indian Government, The Hon. Charles S. Rolls (of Rolls Royce fame) and other members of the Aero Club (later becoming The Royal Aero Club). They gave penny rides and balloon displays at county shows and galas (e.g. York 1905).
In 1908 Horace joined them and the world’s first aeronautical production line was established at Leysdown in Kent. This was the start of SHORT BROTHERS as pioneers and innovators in the design and assembly of powered aeroplanes. Their name lives on to this day in Belfast as Bombardier (Shorts) Ltd.