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Finley R. Porter - Mercer engineer

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#1 robert dick

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:09

Finley Robertson Porter was born on 28 December 1872 (where?), died on 8 February 1964, married to Lulu B. Raynor (married when and where?)
- see no. 11 at http://longislandgen.../ManorMeth.html

Porter was the Mercer engineer responsible for the famous type 35 and the 300-inch and 450-inch racers driven by DePalma, Wishart, Bragg or Oldfield. He left Mercer in 1914 and was replaced by Eric Delling, the designer of the Deltal.
Porter bought a shop at Port Jefferson, Long Island (where Francois Richard had built the Only - "Only" one cylinder).
Porter built a batch of 300-inch FRP racers (FRP or Porter-Knight - Knight double-sleeve engine), which did not qualify in the 1915 Indianapolis 500.

Where did Porter work during the twenties and thirties?


#2 Geoff E

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:24

Perhaps this was him in the 1880 US census, suggesting he was born in the state of Ohio (sorry about the lack of formatting). He may have been born 28 Dec 1871.


Name Relation Marital Status Gender Race Age Birthplace Occupation Father's Birthplace Mother's Birthplace
Catharine PORTER Self Widow Female W 44 NY Keeping House RUSSIA RUSSIA
Fannie PORTER Dau S Female W 16 OH At Home OH NY
Kate PORTER Dau S Female W 10 OH At School OH NY
Finley PORTER Son S Male W 8 OH OH NY

Source Information:
Census Place Smithville, Charlotte, Virginia

His father was probably Hardin PORTER (1834-1875) and his mother Catharine A SCHERER (1836-1921).

Information found at www.familysearch.org

His first wife is given as Lydia BREWSTER ... Lulu Burnett RAYNER was his second wife apparently.

His parents married in 1855 at Washington, Ohio.

#3 Gerr

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 21:03

Georgano has Porter from 1919 to 1922, manufacturing the "Porter" in Bridgeport, Conn.

#4 robert dick

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 07:01

According to the "Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805 - 1942" (by Beverly R. Kimes, Henry Austin Clark, Ralph Dunwoodie, Keith Marvin) :

- between 1914 and 1916 the FRP production cars were built in the former Metropol plant at Port Jefferson, Long Island. These production cars were powered by an OHC four delivering around 100 hp and were available as Raceabout (wheelbase 110 inches), Runabout (130 inches), and Touring (140 inches) - parts for 10 cars were ordered - probably 12 cars were built;
- in 1916 the Port Jefferson factory was taken over by the government;
- between 1916 and 1918 Finley Porter worked for the Division of Military Aeronautics;
- in 1919 Finley Porter was appointed chief engineer of the Curtiss Engineering Co. in Garden City, Long Island;

- the Porter was the successor of the FRP, powered by the same OHC engine, but available only in 142-inch wheelbase form - Finley Porter was not involved anymore - the car was assembled by the American and British Manufacturing Co. in Bridgeport, Connecticut and distributed by the Morton W. Smith Co. of New York City - 36 cars were built.

But no precisions how long Porter worked for Curtiss.
The Curtiss Engineering Co. building, Garden City :

#5 Henk

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 22:36

Finley R. Porter filed a large number of patents, particularly in the US but also in European countries. These documents reflect Porter’s engineering skills and may also help to find answers to some of your questions. A quick search revealed the following points:

- In 1920, FRP was still working for Curtiss. In March he filed a patent on an improved fuel-supply system, the ownership of which was assigned to the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Co., Buffalo, N.Y.

- But apparently he also continued to do work for Knight. His last patent assigned to the Knight American Patents Company, Chicago, was filed in February 1921.

- Between 1921 and 1924 he must have founded his own firm. From March 1924 onwards, his patents were assigned to Porter Engine Development, Inc. British patents give a full address: 2 Rector Street, New York.

- Soon after the stock market crash of October 1929, Porter Engine Development ceased to exist. A patent filed on August 21, 1929 was granted on May 20, 1930 to a bankruptcy trustee by the name of John Dale.

- In the period 1930-1940 he filed, as a private individual, only two patents.

- In WW2 he was still active as an engineer. According to patents filed in 1943, he did work for the Bendix Aviation Corporation, Teterboro, N.J.

[In 1951, Finley R. Porter, Jr. filed a patent assigned to the U.S. Rubber Company, New York]

#6 robert dick

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 11:19

Geoff, Gerr, Henk,
many thanks!