Harry Ricardo

Harry Ricardo

Harry Ralph Ricardo
(1885-01-26)26 January 1885
London, England

18 May 1974(1974-05-18) (aged 89)


Rugby School
Trinity College, Cambridge

Beatrice Bertha Hale

3 daughters

Halsey Ralph Ricardo
Catherine Jane Ricardo

Engineering career


Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Royal Aircraft Establishment


Mk V tank engine
Citroen Rosalie diesel engine
Turbulent Head gasoline combustion system
Comet diesel combustion system
Rolls-Royce Crecy
Rolls-Royce Merlin

Significant advance

Diesel and Spark Ignition combustion systems
Aero engines

Fellow of the Royal Society[1]

Sir Harry Ralph Ricardo (26 January 1885 – 18 May 1974) was one of the foremost engine designers and researchers in the early years of the development of the internal combustion engine.
Among his many other works, he improved the engines that were used in the first tanks, oversaw the research into the physics of internal combustion that led to the use of octane ratings, was instrumental in development of the sleeve valve engine design, and invented the Diesel “Comet” Swirl chamber that made high-speed diesel engines economically feasible.


1 Early life
2 Marriage
3 Car engines
4 Tank engines
5 Aircraft engines
6 Advances in engine design
7 World War II
8 Post war period
9 Ricardo Consulting Engineers (now Ricardo plc)
10 Books
11 See also
12 References
13 External links

Early life[edit]

Blue plaque, 13 Bedford Square, London

Harry Ricardo was born at 13 Bedford Square, London in 1885, the eldest of three children, and only son of Halsey Ricardo, the architect, and his wife Catherine Jane, daughter of Sir Alexander Meadows Rendel, a civil engineer. Ricardo was descended from a brother of the famous political economist David Ricardo, a Sephardi Jew of Portuguese origin (hence the last name). He was one of the first people in England to see an automobile when his grandfather purchased one in 1898. He was from a relatively wealthy family and educated at Rugby School. In October 1903 he joined Trinity College, Cambridge as a civil engineering student. Ricardo had been using tools and building engines since the age of ten.[2]
In 1911 Ricardo married Beatrice Bertha Hale, an art student at the Slade School of Art, in London. Her father, Charles Bowdich Hale, was the Ricardos’ family doctor. They had three daughters, an