Jan 152019
 

Waterfront Avenue, Edinburgh EH5 1RS

The Madelvic Car factory, as it is today

The Madelvic Car factory, as it is today

We have now returned to Madelvic, the legacy of Sir William Peck (1862 – 1925) who was a Scottish astronomer, scientific instrument maker, and a prolific inventor. He was the director of the Edinburgh City Observatory from 1889 until his death in 1925. Peck was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a man with vision: not only did he invent telescopes (one can still be seen in the Stirling Highland Hotel) but he also came up with the idea of an electric car, a most astonishing concept in 1899. This electric car, which he named ‘The Brougham’, was produced in this factory building. It was driven by a three-wheeled tractor-style front axle unit, comprising a motor, batteries and a small central wheel, set behind the axle, which propelled the vehicle. This unit was mounted to the front of a chassis, creating a five-wheeled automobile and could be attached to any horse-drawn carriage. To gain publicity Peck used it to provide public transport between Granton and Leith. For a brief period, the Postmaster General of Edinburgh employed Madelvic to carry the mail between the General Post Office and Leith. The fifth wheel is such an iconic design, Peck had it incorporated into the façade of the office building, Madelvic House, which is now the base of granton:hub.

Illustration taken from The Madelvic Motor Carriage Co. Ltd. original brochure, 1899

The Brougham, From the granton:hub collection, illustration taken from The Madelvic Motor Carriage Co. Ltd. original brochure, 1899 (42pp).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illustration taken from The Madelvic Motor Carriage Co. Ltd. original brochure, 1899

The royal mail delivery between Leith and Graton, From the granton:hub collection, illustration taken from The Madelvic Motor Carriage Co. Ltd. original brochure, 1899 (42pp).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sir William Peck

Sir William Peck FRSE FRAS (3 January 1862, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire – 7 March 1925, Edinburgh) was a Scottish astronomer and scientific instrument maker and founder of the Madelvic Motor Carriage Company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5th Wheel on the Facade of Madelvic House

The 5th wheel, incorporated into the façade of the Madelvic House office building

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find out more

Share #curiousedinburgh: