Rex McCandless (1915 - 1992):
Rex McCandless was born in Hillsborough, County Down. He began work in a miller's when he was thirteen. In his early twenties he went to London and worked at servicing lorries, and before the Second World War he returned to Belfast, where Short Brothers & Harland employed him to install brake systems in Bristol Bombay aeroplanes. In 1943 he went into partnership with his brother Cromie to repair vehicles for the Ministry of Supply. During this period he built his own motor-cycle and this became the prototype for the 'Featherbed' adapted by Norton. In the 1950s McCandless refined the design, calling it the 'Kneeler', and it broke many world speed records. In 1953 he designed two aluminum-bodied racing cars for Harry Ferguson. He developed a light cross-country vehicle which he called the 'Mule', but on Ferguson's death McCandless had no means of legally proving that the design was his. After a visit to Germany he devised a method of burning coal at low temperatures, an idea which saved the National Coal Board millions of pounds. In the 1960s he built his own autogiro. Towards the end of his life he perfected the technique of producing blackberry wine.