Frank Perkins (20 February 1889 – 15 October 1967) was a British engineer, businessman, creator of the Perkins Diesel Engine, and founder of the Perkins Engines Company.

Background and early lifeEdit

Perkins was born in Peterborough, the son of John Edward Sharman Perkins, an agricultural engineer, and his wife Margaret Charlotte Long. His brother Christopher Perkins became a noted artist , and both boys were educated at Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk. Frank attended Rugby School (1902–1904), Gresham's (1904–1907), and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, (1907-1910) gaining a pass degree in mechanical engineering in 1910.

War serviceEdit

At the beginning of the First World War, Perkins quickly volunteered, and was commissioned into the Royal Engineers, serving in its 34th divisional company in the Dardanelles, Palestine, and Egypt. He was demobilized in 1918 with the rank of major.


He was a third generation engineer, following both his grandfather and father, who both worked for Barford and Perkins, that family firm that manufactured road construction rollers/compactors, agricultural rollers, and other agricultural machinery. However, before joining the family firm at its Queen Street ironworks in Peterborough, he worked for Lawes Chemicals Ltd.

While later working at Aveling & Porter in Rochester, Kent, Perkins started working on a high-speed, light-weight, diesel engine with Charles Chapman. Before they could complete the project, Aveling & Porter went bankrupt as part of the AGE group of companies. Convinced that the scheme would be profitable in serve the agricultural tractor market, the two were forced to form their own company, Perkins Engines Company Limited, on 7 June 1932. Chapman was its technical director and Perkins its president.

Perkins would go on designing and building new engines and building the company up until 1959, when at the age of seventy he sold a majority stake to his largest customer, Massey-Ferguson. He retired from day-to-day management and died eight years later, in 1967.


In 1915, while on leave from the Royal Engineers, Perkins married Susan Gwynneth Gee, the daughter of Hugh Roberts Williams. They had one son and three daughters.

See alsoEdit


  • Perkins, Francis Arthur [Frank] (1889–1967), diesel engine manufacturer by Anne Pimlott Baker in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

External linksEdit

Smallwikipedialogo This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Frank Perkins. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.