John Isaac Thornycroft started his engineering career with steam vans and lorries. Born in 1864 the early part of his career was as a naval engineer but by the late 1800s he turned to road vehicles.
In 1896 he built his first steam lorry and then went on to build one of the World’s first articulated lorries. By the outbreak of WWI, Thornycroft’s Basingstoke factory was mainly producing vehicles for the military, producing over 5000 trucks for the war effort.
After WWII, Thornycroft turned its focus back to civilian vehicles, one of which being the Nippy. It was named the Nippy because of its manoeuvrability and speed, making it suitable for the transportation of goods from the railways to its final destination.