The Petter Family of Yeovil
When James Bazeley Petter married Charlotte Branscombe, his
father presented him with the ironmongery business of Hanham and
Gillett. Later James bought the Yeovil Foundry and Engineering
works in Huish. In 1881 following the introduction of the
Nautilus Grate, one of his most successful inventions, he opened
the Nautilus Grate works in Reckleford. Queen Victoria had
one installed in Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and one is held
at the Community Heritage Access Centre at Lufton.
At the age of sixteen his twin sons Ernest and Percival started
work at the ironmongery, which was later called James B. Petter
The twins inherited their father's genius and in swift
succession invented a steam engine, a horseless carriage,
stationary engines, oil engines, including the first self-propelled
oil engine, and electric vehicles.
In 1913, the foundations of the Westland works were laid, and
in 1915 the Petters offered their entire production to the War
Office, forming the Westland Aircraft branch in 1916.
Agricultural machinery was being produced alongside aircraft
resulting in the opening of the Plough works at Westland in
Teddy Petter continued the tradition of success in the world of
aircraft with his design for the Westland Lysander in 1934.
In 1937 the Petter twins retired and in 1939 Associated British
Engines Ltd. acquired the Petter engine business and Westland
Aircraft went on to become a major manufacturer of
family histories ...