About Students and teacherslinks and references Australia Innovates
A century of innovationThe Innovation cycleThe innovation game
The best of the century What is innovation? Overview Timeline Test your AIQ
blank
Transport
 
Bishop steering systems
1971
variable-ratio power steering system for cars

Arthur Bishop's greatest contribution to Australian life may not be his inventions, but his proof of a very simple proposition: that exporting Australian know-how can be just as valuable as exporting our manufactured products.

Bishop's Sydney 'factory' produces ideas in the form of designs: designs for car steering systems and designs for the machines to make them. He employs a team of engineers and encourages them to think and experiment. He uses patenting laws to protect the devices they invent. Then his company develops new machines to build the new devices, patents the machines and earns royalties on each machine and product made.

Bishop's key inventions have been variable-ratio rack-and-pinion steering technology and a rotary valve for power steering. Both produce safer and more precise car steering and are used in 4.5 million new cars a year. Yet none of them are made by Bishop's company - they are all made under licence. In 1993 his patents and licences earned $5 million in royalties. Some element of technology developed by Bishop is used in 20% of the passenger cars made in the world each year. The company holds more than 400 patents and patent applications.

Who Did It?
Key Organisations
A E Bishop & Associates Pty Ltd : R&D, design, patenting, promotion
Key People
Arthur Bishop : inventor, managing director
Laurie Bishop : marketing director

Further Reading
'Innovation: last chance for Australian industry'
R Skjellerup
Society of Automotive Engineers, July/Aug 1992, pp 11-12.

Links
Bishop Technology Group
Patent example
ATSE Technology in Australia 1788-1988


The Bishop variable ratio rack and pinion steering system. Courtesy A E Bishop and Associates.
Arthur Bishop at the drawing board with part of his variable ratio steering system. Courtesy A E Bishop and Associates.
A cutaway model of the variable ratio steering system. Courtesy A E Bishop and Associates.
The Bishop ?Y-die? forges part of the steering rack. Courtesy A E Bishop and Associates.
copyright
ATSE Powerhouse Museum