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Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce came from very different backgrounds they had very different educations and until shortly before they met their careers were going in very different directions Yet in 1904 they joined forces to build the best cars in the world that would change the automobile world forever Royce was the son of an impoverished miller from Alwalton near Peterborough and he had a difficult start in life He began work at the age of 10 selling newspapers for W H Smitht Bishopsgate and Clapham Junction But he soon left that to find his first real job working as an apprentice for the Great Northern Railway in Peterborough It was while he was there that he learnt most of the basics of engineering and it is also obvious that even at that age Royce was determined to do well because he set about teaching himself foreign languages algebra and the fundamentals of electricity Three years later he moved to a firm of machine tool makers in Leeds where he worked a 54-hour week for just 11 shillings 55p His next move was to London where his self-taught knowledge of electricity enabled him to get a job with one of the pioneer electric light companies From there at the age of 19 he went to Liverpool as technical advisor to the Lancashire Maxim and Western Electric Company And then just three years later he and a partner A E Claremont set up in business in Cooke Street Manchester making electric light fittings dynamos and cranes Such was Royces determination that by the turn of the century the order books were full and the business was going from strength to strength All this was quite an achievement for someone who had started almost literally with nothing But the real turning point was yet to come This happened in 1903 when Royce bought himself a second hand French Decauville car for the journey
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