Inventor extraordinaire (1847-1917)

Farnham hero, John Henry Knight (1847-1917) was a wealthy landowner and a prolific inventor.
In 1895 he built Britain’s first petrol-powered motor vehicle, and was prosecuted for using a locomotive with neither a licence nor a man walking in front with a red flag.

Knight was a founder member of the Automobile Association (AA) and was instrumental in the repeal of the Red Flag Act.

Image courtesy of The Museum of Farnham

Knight’s other inventions included a steam powered hop-digging machine, a brick-laying device, a heat saving radiator, a speedometer, and a wooden motor car tyre made of ash slats, in response to the high price of rubber tyres.

John Henry Knight was a keen photographer and a pioneer of colour photography. He has left a valuable photographic record of what Farnham looked like 100 years ago.

 

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