The Lion was a versatile engine which was used in aircraft, boats and cars. The Lion I (first produced in 1918) generated 450 bhp and the specialised supercharged Lion VIID (first produced in 1928) generated 1350 bhp and powered several land speed records. The Lion was hugely popular and became the mainstay of aircraft engines during the interwar period being fitted to over 150 different civil and military aircraft.
In c.1918 Napier had a series of professional publicity photographs taken showing several stages of the manufacturing process for the Lion engine. These photographs can be viewed in the Napier archive collection held at the IMechE and online in our virtual archive.
Taken at the Napier works in Acton, these photographs provide insight not only into the engine’s manufacture, but also into the setup of the Napier workshop and foundry and the workforce who would have been involved in the day to day manufacturing process at the time. The series of photographs were titled “The Napier Aero Engine In The Making” and we have chosen some of our favourites to showcase here: