Thomas Hugh Parker

Thomas's son, Thomas Hugh Parker, also had his father's flare for design and innovation. From 1884 onwards his father built a number of prototype motor cars and Thomas Hugh followed in his father's footsteps. In 1901 he built a steam powered car with a 10h.p. compound engine which burnt oil. It performed extremely well.

Thomas Hugh Parker. Courtesy of Gail Tudor.

Some of Thomas Hugh's cars included modern features such as hydraulic brakes on all four wheels and four wheel steering. He also worked on petrol powered vehicles and claimed to have invented the spark plug, the monoblock engine and the carburettor.

The Sedan Automobile Syndicate Limited was founded in 1907 with a capital of £10,000 in £1 shares. The company was based at 51 Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton and was founded to acquire the Burnt Tree Engineering Works, Tipton and their interest in two patents. The first, taken out by Thomas Hugh Parker was for improvements in motor cars and the second was for an invention by L. Wirtz for improvements in variable and reversing gear.

The company produced a unique articulated car which was partly or wholly designed by Thomas Hugh Parker. It is not known how many of these cars were produced, but they were likely built at the Tipton Works.

Read about Thomas Hugh's early cars

Read about Thomas Hugh's steam car

For a time, the Electric Construction Company toyed with the idea of manufacturing vehicles and Thomas Hugh Parker designed a number of prototype cars for the company. Eventually the idea was dropped and no cars were ever produced commercially by the company. Thomas is credited with the design and manufacture of E.C.C.'s most famous car, the 'electric dog cart'.

The Electric Dog Cart. Courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.

The 'dog cart'  was built in 1896. Reins were used to steer the vehicle because Mr. A. B. Blackburn, who was works manager, enjoyed horse riding and so the vehicle had to be as similar as possible to a horse-drawn one. The operation of the motor controller was by sliding seat. It was said by Walter "Wattie" Wall, who was an old employee, who often drove the dog-cart, that the arrangement worked quite well when the movement consisted of sliding the seat backwards, but not so well when it was necessary to pull it forward.
This difficulty was overcome by screwing a half egg shaped wooden block to the seat. It rested between the driver's legs and provided the necessary lock between him and the seat. The vehicle had an interesting career including a drive through London, with the late Duke of Fife as passenger. In 1896 the car was entered in a race for self-propelled road vehicles, from the Crystal Palace, London, to Birmingham. 

Another view of the dog cart.

This was organised by 'The Engineer' magazine, and there was a 1,000 guinea prize for the winner. There were 72 entries, but on the day there were only five runners, and so the race was cancelled. The car however, was highly commended. The car was eventually broken-up at the works and the motor was used for many years to drive an ash-hoist in E.C.C.'s boiler house.

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