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29 August 2014
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Inventors - Rex McCandless

Rex McCandless was one of the perhaps less celebrated Northern Ireland inventors.

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Inventors - Rex McCandless

Autogyro
An Autogyro...
A Single-seater "portable"
flying machine.

Rex McCandless was one of the perhaps less celebrated Northern Ireland inventors. The range of machines he turned his talents to was quite diverse. He did much of the major development work on the "Autogyro" - the one-man portable helicopter of James Bond fame, making it more controllable, stable and safer in flight.

He was also heavily involved with motorcycle racing in the 1940s & 50s, and it was McCandless who invented the innovative and now legendary "Featherbed Frame" which was adopted by Norton for its racing machines. The frame was such an improvement in terms of strength and rigidity that it quickly became the basis for a large percentage of motorcycle frames throughout the world for many years to come.

He also did important development work on suspension for motorbikes, realising the limitations that the hitherto semi-rigid front-end had upon handling and thus he produced the "telescopic fork", yet another invention which is used in 99% of motorcycles the world over today.

McCandless also made a few sports cars, examples of which can still be seen today in the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum. The distinguishing feature of these was the radiator grille which was fashioned in the shape of a Shamrock.

Do you know any stories about Rex McCandless? Did you meet him? Please do reply!


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