These sketch books were mostly used by Frederick Lanchester to record and work on new ideas as they came to him at his desk. There are 14 of them, including volumes used by others such as Lanchester's brother George, and JL Milligan of Daimler. A volunteer has helped identify what the sketches and ideas relate to, but in some cases it has not been possible to do this.
The sketchbooks were part of material purchased by the Lanchester Library at auction in December 1982. Most of the sketch books are difficult to date, especially as some have had comments and dates added years later. Three of the sketch books were rebound in 1998. In most of the volumes each pair of open pages had a page number printed on the right hand side page and to help identify the pages within each sketch book they have been marked L (left) and R (right).
Items inserted between pages or attached to them are also described. Blank pages are not described, which explains gaps in the page numbers.