In 1908 French man Rene Lorin patented a design for a ramjet engine, the world first workable jet engine, little did he know that with in 35 years his engine would be used to power weapons of war, like the Fiesler Fi 103 V1, when the idea of such machines in 1908 were only in the minds of writers like H.G.Wells.
But the real break through in air powered flight came in 1910. With the first jet powered flight on 16 December in Paris. Henri Coanda designed, built and flew this remarkable aircraft, years before it's time and has never been given the recognition which this remarkable man is entitled to, as the inventor of the Jet engine.
In the mean time Rene Lorin had been working hard and in 1913 patented another ramjet engine design for use in supersonic flight!. Not to be out done by this in 1917, an English man, Dr J.S.Harris patented a design for the motor jet engine. An idea which would be realized by Ing Secondo Campini in the 1930s in the form of the CC.2 aircraft
However in 1921 another French man, a Maxime Guillaume took the leap of the mind which great inventors are made of, and was issued with a patent (number 534 801) for the first multistage axial-flow engine. One can not help but wonder whether Frank Whittle knew of these patents and aircraft before he designed his jet engine in 1930, without doubt he was the first person to see the practical application of the jet engine for the high speed flight of the future, as written in his thesis "Future Developments in Aircraft Design" of 1928. But as for the clams that he invented the jet engine, they can not be justified in light of the achievements of Henri Coanda.
As with any new idea it takes a large number of small steps, by different people groping in the dark until a point is reached were every thing falls into place. As it did for two men, Frank Whittle and the young German physicist Hans-Joachim Pabst von Ohain, who, with out knowing about each others work, came up with the same design at around the same time, the difference being, where as Whittle had no help or interest from the powers that be, Ohain was taken under the wing of Ernst Heinkel an event which in the coming War of 1939/45 would give the Germans the edge in jet engine design and a lead of years over the rest of the world in aerodynamic design by 1945.