A bicentenial record of D. Napier & Son
Author Alan Vessey
ISBN 987 0 7524 3888 7
Alan Vessey has written what must be the definitive story of D Napier & Son. Whereas ‘Men and Machines’ was written by researchers ‘By Precision Into Power’ has been written by a true Napierian who has spent many years researching and talking about his chosen subject.
Being too young to have ever worked for the Company I have always had to learn about it by relying on members’ recollections, published literature and records. This has only resulted in a greater desire to find out more about the Company and its history. Alan’s book brings together all this and more; its products and their developments, the record breakers, how history drove the Company into new areas and how politics directly affected it.
Starting from David Napier’s origins in Scotland this book details the early printing presses and weighing machines. Next we move into the era of the motor car, on to the aero engines and of course the record breakers. Finally Alan reveals the marine engines, gas turbines and rockets. Historically speaking, he also relates to the needs of the country and the politics of the time from the Napier viewpoint. Alan also uncovers in detail the true facts of the Company’s demise in the 1960’s and finally mentions the Company’s products in subsequent years as well as creation of the Trust, its aims and achievements. The difficulty for Alan however, has been where to stop writing about a topic and move on; I know that he had wanted to expand in detail on many individual subjects. As such there is still a great deal left untold about individual products, developments and events. Maybe this book will inspire members to write more? The volume is well illustrated with many photographs not previously published. In addition and of great interest to the historian are the appendices. These include comprehensive lists of the early machines, motor vehicles, aero and marine engines including many of their applications. Regrettably the ‘E’ number register of almost 300 engine designs is incomplete however all manufactured designs are mentioned along with the more interesting proposals.
For a reader who is keen to find out more about the Company Alan’s book is a fabulous read and a great tribute to D Napier & Son. I can truly recommend ‘By Precision Into Power’ to all Napierians, historians and enthusiasts alike. All will find this a fascinating 250 page read about this Company as it approaches its bicentenary.
With reference to your inquiry the book devotes about 10 pages to the Sabre. The book covers the Two Hundred years of the Company’s Engineering, so coverage of each engine is not in great detail. I am looking into the possibility of further documents /Books that cover the Sabre in more detail and will be in touch .
Regards NPHT Sec