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Owen Finlay Maclaren

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Owen Finlay Maclaren

Owen Finlay Maclaren, MBE (1907 – 13 April 1978) was the inventor of the lightweight baby buggy with a collapsible support assembly and founder of the Maclaren company.

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • Design engineer 2
    • Spitfire undercarriage 2.1
    • Collapsible baby buggy 2.2
  • Personal life 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6
    • Audio clips 6.1
    • Patents 6.2

Early life

He was born in Saffron Walden in Essex to Andrew Maclaren and Eva (née Friend). His father died in 1914. His family descended from the Clan MacLaren in Argyll.

Design engineer

Spitfire undercarriage

He invented the Spitfire undercarriage when living in West Drayton, Middlesex when working for Maclaren Undercarriage Company Ltd. The design allowed aircraft to be steered or swivelled whilst on the ground. He retired from aeronautical design in 1944, forming the company Andrews Maclaren and making aircraft components.

Collapsible baby buggy

The former test pilot and designer of the Supermarine Spitfire undercarriage was inspired when his daughter visited from the United States with his first grandchild. After watching the parents struggle with the clumsy conventional pushchair, he used his knowledge of lightweight, collapsible structures to create a new generation of infant transport and inspire the design of future collapsible objects such as the Strida bicycle.[1]

He designed his first buggy in 1965, which was built in his medieval farmhouse stables in Barby, Northamptonshire in England just south of Rugby. He applied for a patent on July 20 1965, for his 6lb B01 prototype with lightweight aluminium tubes receiving Patent No. 1,154,362. On July 18 1966 he filed for an American patent, receiving Patent No. 3,390,893.

Only after this design would aluminium tubes be used in other household equipment. The buggy went on sale in 1967. He also designed the 'Gadabout folding chair' which was produced from 1961, and was commissioned by the Ministry of Health to design a larger folding buggy for larger children with disabilities called the 'Buggy Major' this buggy was designed on square tubes instead of the usual round tubes like the 'Baby Buggy', being produced around 1970.

Today the modern version of the 'Baby Buggy' are sold in over 50 countries under the Maclaren brand based in Long Buckby.

Personal life

He was married to Marie and they had a son and daughter.

In January 1978 Queen Elizabeth II awarded him with an MBE in the New Year's Honours List.

Notes

  1. ^ R. Roy. (2004).

References

  • R. Roy. (2004). Creativity and Concept Design. (p. 63). Open University Worldwide Ltd. ISBN 0-7492-5908-6.
  • Rosalind Sharpe. (23 September 1995). Mother of invention. The Independent. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  • Annabel Freyberg. (2008). Design notebook: Baby buggy. The Telegraph.
  • Per Mollerup. (2001). Collapsible: The Genius of Space-saving Design. (p. 114). Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-3236-8.
  • John Gapper. (19 September 2003). Wheels of fortune. FT.com. Retrieved 2008-04-01.

External links

  • Presentation on Owen Finlay Maclaren and the history of the Maclaren company.
  • His granddaughter sees his inventions at Duxford

Audio clips

Patents

  • US Patent 2222850 Aircraft Undercarriage, dated November 26 1940
  • US Patent 2315901 Endless Track Element for Aircraft and Land Vehicles, dated April 1943
  • US Patent 3124387 Seating structures, dated March 1964
  • US Patent 3390893 Structures for Folding Baby-Carriages, Chairs, and the like, dated July 1968
  • US Patent 3736021 Folding Wheel Chair, dated May 1973
  • US Patent 3968991 Collapsible Seat Structures, dated July 13 1976
  • US Patent D246518 Baby Carriage, dated November 29 1977
  • US Patent 4232897 Lie Back Buggy, dated November 11 1980 (awarded posthumously)
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