White and PoppeWhite and Poppe
of Holbrooks Lane, and Lockhurst Lane, in Coventry,
were proprietary engine and gearbox manufacturers.
They also produced motorcycles (see below), although they were better
known for the engines they supplied to other companies.
Prior to World War I, they served the booming motor industry, but in
1919, during the post-war recession, they were bought by Dennis
Brothers of Guildford in Surrey, and became a subsidiary.
A Brief History:
1897 Alfred White first met Peter August Poppe, in August, when visiting
a small arms factory in Austria. They became friends, and White suggested
to Poppe that he moved to Coventry to set up an engine business.
1899 Supported financially by White's family, the resulting Company was
registered in 1899.
White's family owned 337 shares in the company, Alfred White, 250, and
Peter Poppe, 1 share.
1900 White and Poppe filed various patents for machine tools they had designed
for their production line. They pioneered interchangeability of parts in
automotive engines from their experience in the munitions industry. Their
advanced carburettors mechanically controlled the proportion of fuel to
air to achieve a consistent proportion throughout the operating range.
The company initially worked on the design of a single cylinder engine
but this was interrupted by manufacture of munitions for the Boer war (1899-1902).
1903 The first engine produced was for a motor bike (80mm bore 85mm stroke,
1905 They introduced a 80mm bore 90 mm stroke engine in 2, 3 and 4 cylinder
versions (7-14 hp).
1906 White and Poppe were a proprietary engine manufacturer and became
a preferred supplier to Dennis
Brothers, at which point White and Poppe were supplying 22 different
1916 When the first German airship was shot down (Schutte-Lanz SL11) on
3rd September, it was fitted with a White and Poppe carburettor.
1919 On 5th November, in the post World War I recession, Dennis Bros purchased
White and Poppe by exchange of shares to the value of £204,365.00.
By then, White and Poppe had produced nearly 12,000 engines in total, including
approximately 5,000 for Dennis Bros.
Alfred White was offered a knighthood after World War I, but turned it
down because Peter Poppe was not eligible, being a foreign national.
1919 March. Advert for their engines and carburettors.
Some automotive and motorcycle manufacturers which employed White and Poppe
1902 to 1914
They built their own engines in the same style as the ones they supplied
to Ariel - with the valves to one
side of the head, but spaced much further apart than usual.
By late-1904 they had a 5hp vertical-twin engine that had the pistons
at 180 degrees and could be water cooled for tricycle work instead of the
usual air cooling.
As well as the engines they supplied to other companies, the firm also
built some motorcycles. This must have been unpopular with their engine
customers, so production was limited.
In 1921, they listed a small two-stroke engine but, by then, were making
car engines for William Morris among others.
If you have a query about about this page, or have some information to add, please contact us