• Dr. Mohan Dewan assisted by Adv. Shubham Borkar

Brands are more than just a name or a logo; they embody a story and a legacy that have been built over time. Behind every brand, there is a rich history and a unique set of circumstances that have shaped its identity and contributed to its success. These background stories have become an integral part of the brand, and they serve as an essential tool for building brand loyalty and connecting with customers. There are various brands that you think you know about, but do you really know them? In this series of articles we will be telling you unknown stories behind known brands.

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The story of Rolls-Royce, one of the most iconic luxury car brands in the world, is a classic rags-to-riches story of determination, innovation, and perseverance. The company was founded by two men, Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, who came from very different backgrounds and upbringings.

Sir Frederick Henry Royce was born in 1863 in Alwalton, a small village in Cambridgeshire, England, to a family of modest means. His father, James Royce, was a miller who owned a small flour mill in the village, and his mother, Mary, was a homemaker. Henry was the youngest of five children and grew up in a small cottage with no running water or electricity.

Despite his family's limited resources, Henry Royce showed an early aptitude for mechanics and engineering. He was fascinated by machines and spent much of his free time tinkering with engines and other mechanical devices. When he was 15 years old, he left school and began working as an apprentice at the Great Northern Railway in Peterborough, where he learned about engines and the principles of mechanics. With the financial aid provided by his aunt, he worked there for three years till the money ran out. Thereafter he worked with an electric light and power company in Liverpool working on street lighting and theatre lighting. With the 20£ of savings that he had, he entered into a partnership with one Mr. Ernest Claremont who contributed his bit of 50 £, and started manufacturing domestic electrical fittings under the name F.H Royce and Company, in the year 1884.

By the year 1894, they were manufacturing dynamos and electric cranes. They re-registered themselves as Royce Ltd. in the year 1899.

Henry Royce's early experiences working at the railway and growing up in a small village with limited resources may have instilled in him a strong work ethic and a sense of ingenuity. He was a self-taught engineer who was always looking for ways to improve and innovate, and he went on to become one of the most respected engineers and designers of his time.

Charles Rolls, on the other hand, was born into a wealthy family in London in 1877. His father was a baronet, and his mother was the daughter of a wealthy Scottish banker. Rolls was educated at Eton College and later at the University of Cambridge, where he studied engineering. He was an avid car enthusiast and became one of the first people in England to own a car.

In 1904, Rolls met Royce at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, where Royce was displaying his latest car, the 10 HP. Rolls was immediately impressed by the quality of the car and struck up a conversation with Royce. 

The two men quickly realized that they shared a passion for engineering and a desire to build the best cars in the world. In 1906, Rolls and Royce founded the Rolls-Royce Company, with Rolls handling the business side of things and Royce focusing on engineering and design. Their first car, the Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP, also known as the "Silver Ghost," was an instant success and quickly established the company's reputation for quality and luxury.

Over the years, Rolls-Royce continued to innovate and push the boundaries of engineering. During World War I, the company developed aircraft engines for the British military, and in World War II, it played a key role in the development of the Merlin engine, which powered the Spitfire and other Allied aircraft.

Despite the company's success, both Rolls and Royce faced personal tragedies. In 1910, Rolls was killed in a plane crash while participating in an aviation event. Royce, who had always been in frail health, died in 1933 from complications related to kidney disease.

Today, almost a Century later, Rolls-Royce is still synonymous with luxury and quality, and its cars are sought after by the world's elite. Some of their popular models include the Ghost Series, the Phantom Series, the Corniche, and the Silver Shadow.

The company's success is a testament to the vision and determination of its two founders, who came from very different backgrounds but shared a passion for engineering and a desire to build the best cars in the world. Their rags-to-riches story is an inspiration to entrepreneurs everywhere, showing that with hard work, determination, and a little bit of luck, anything is possible.


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