Skinner’s Union

Skinner’s Union by Mike Harvey: Book Review

Credit is due to Mike Harvey for producing a fascinating history of the SU Company and its products and the more prominent members of the Skinner family associated with the business.

The book runs to over 300 pages with more than 85 period photographs and nearly 50 drawings and illustrations, including a good few period advertisements.

The early history of the Skinner family is covered in detail. Their involvement in the large national footwear company of Lilley & Skinner generated the family’s wealth and helped to keep the SU Company afloat during the difficult trading years between 1919 and 1926 prior to it being purchased by William Morris in December 1926.

The Skinner Family involvement with carburetters started as early as 1900 when George Herbert (Bert) Skinner and his younger brother Thomas Carlyle (Carl) Skinner began experimenting with fuel mixture and atomisation. This led to the building of a prototype carburetter in 1904 by Harry Mooring at George Wailes & Co. and later (1908) the manufacture by the same company of Bert Skinner’s patented design of constant depression carburetter under the control of Carl Skinner. Later, on 22nd August 1910, The SU Company Ltd was formed with the SU brand initially still manufactured by George Wailes & Co.

Two chapters of the book cover the successful hillclimbing and sprinting activities of Carl’s son Peter, and daughter Barbara, and the four ‘Skinner specials’ whilst subsequent chapters cover SU Aero Carburetters and Pre-War expansion and Post-War changes.

There is an unbelievable amount of information and detail in this book – a selection of the relevant patents (1906-1926); SU vehicle products in chronological order (1904-1994) and SU aero-carburetters (1909-1944).

A book you’ll find hard to put down once you’ve started to read it. Exceptional value at £20 plus ‘P&P’.

Visit or phone 01722 412500 to purchase a copy – ‘Part Number’ ALT 9527.

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