A Chronology of Motorcycle Building in the Black Country


1897

 

 

Stevens Brothers

Wolverhampton

By the late 1890s the Stevens brothers were riding around Wolverhampton on their first motorcycle, powered by an American 'Mitchell' engine.

12 years later they founded A.J.S.

1897

Barnsley

Bilston

Around this time, William Barnsley, a bedstead maker in Bilston built several machines.

He claimed to have built the first machine with the engine inclined within the frame.

 
1899

New Courier

Wolverhampton

Bicycle manufacturer, New Courier of Alexander Street, Wolverhampton exhibited two tricycles, each powered by a 2 hp. De Dion engine.

One was a motor-carrier tricycle, the other a passenger carrier.

 
1901

 

 

 

 

Wearwell-Stevens

Wolverhampton

The Wearwell-Stevens motor bicycle manufactured in Wolverhampton, appeared in the spring of 1901.

It was fitted with a 4-stroke Stevens engine, and sold for 42 guineas.

1901

 

 

 

 

Roper

Wolverhampton

J. Roper produced a few motorcycles between 1901 and 1905, possibly at his Curzon Street premises in Wolverhampton.
1902

 

 

 

Juckes

Wolverhampton

Mr. Juckes built his first motorcycle in 1902. He started to produce machines commercially in 1923, when over 400 were built at his works in Bilston Road, Wolverhampton.

The business closed in 1925.

1902

 


  

Star

Wolverhampton

Star began selling motorised tricycles as early as 1899.

The first Star motorcycle, imported from France in 1902 was called the 'Griffon'.

In 1903 Star began to build motorcycles in Wolverhampton.

1902

 


 

Beau Ideal

Wolverhampton

Mr. Charles Richards ran the Beau Ideal Cycle Company, based in Frederick Street, Heath Town, Wolverhampton.

In the early 1900s he produced a few motorcycles.

The photograph shows part of what is possibly the only survivor, now in Australia.

1902

 

 

Rudge Wedge

Wolverhampton

Harry Rudge and C. Wedge built a few motorcycles in 1902 at their Mander Street factory, in Wolverhampton.

There were 2 models which sold for £40, and £42.

1903

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wolf

Wolverhampton

The Wolf name first appeared in 1903 on the side of the Wearwell-Stevens machines.

By 1906 there were more than a dozen models.

The name continued to be used until production ended at the outbreak of World War 2.

1904


   

Olympic

Wolverhampton

In the early 1900s cycle maker Frank Parkyn produced a number of Olympic motorcycles at his factory in Granville Street.

Production soon ended, then began again 1919 when a range of machines was on offer. Manufacturing ceased in 1923.

1908

 

 

 

Diamond

Wolverhampton

The Diamond Cycle Company of Wolverhampton began to produce motorcycles in 1908.

In the early 1920s the company had a lot of successes  in trials and racing events.

Unfortunately sales were poor and production ended in 1933.

1909

 

 

 

A.J.S.

Wolverhampton

The Stevens brothers founded A. J. Stevens & Company Limited in 1909. Motorcycle production began in 1910 with the model 'A' and the model 'B'.

They went on to become Wolverhampton's largest motorcycle manufacturer.

1909

 

 

 

 

 

Omega

Wolverhampton

Mr. S. Dawson, and Mr R. S. Roberts founded the Omega Motorcycle Company in St. James' Square Wolverhampton.

Sales were low and only a few were made.

1910

 


  

Clyno

Wolverhampton

Two cousins, Ailwyn and Frank Smith moved their motorcycle manufacturing company, the Clyno Engineering Company to Wolverhampton, where they were very successful.
1911

 

Rolfe

Smethwick

Rolfe motorcycles were manufactured in Bridge Street, Smethwick.

Only a small number of machines were made.

Production ended in 1914.

 
1912

 


 

Sunbeam

Wolverhampton

Bicycle and car manufacturer, Sunbeam, began to produce motorcycles in 1912 at Sunbeamland in Wolverhampton.

The machines were known for their high quality finish, and many sporting achievements.

1913

 

 

 

Orbit

Wolverhampton

 

A few Orbit machines were built in 1913, in Wolverhampton.

Production ceased until 1919 after the First World War, when a 250 c.c. machine was launched.

Sales were poor, production ended in 1924.

1915


   

 

De Luxe

Wolverhampton

Mr. A. E. Bradford obtained premises in Sweetman Street, Wolverhampton and built a few machines using the 'De Luxe' name.

He also sold motorcycles in kit form from his premises in Vane Street.

1916
   


   

Shacklock

Wolverhampton

Mr. C. H. Shacklock designed and built a few prototype machines at his Manby Street premises in Wolverhampton.

They had a V twin engine, chain drive, and enclosed moving partrs.

1919


  

H.B.

Wolverhampton

Hill Brothers of Wolverhampton produced the first H.B. machine in 1919.

Sales were poor, production ended in 1923.

1919

 

 

Carfield

Smethwick

The Carfield Motor Company was based in Windmill Lane, Smethwick.

Motorcycle production began in 1919, and lasted for about 9 years.

Sales were never good, not many were built.

1920

 


   

Rockson

Cradley

J. S. Rock & Sons began producing motorcycles at their factory in Beecher Road, Cradley.

They were well made. About 400 were produced.

1920
 
Bluebird

Wolverhampton

During the early 1920s John Ireland produced a number of motorcycles at his garage in Wolverhampton.

His 'Bluebird' machines were powered by V twin J.A.P. engines.

 
1920

 

 

 


   
    

Sharratt

West Bromwich

West Bromwich cycle maker John Sharratt began to produce motorcycles at his workshop in Carters Green.

A number of different models were made. By the time production ended in 1931 over 100 machines had been built.

 

1921
 
 

 


   

Pen Nib

Wolverhampton

Bill Boulton opened a garage at Penn, Wolverhampton, from where he made several motorcycles, each with a petrol tank which was shaped to resemble a pen nib.

There were 2-stroke and 4-stroke versions, with an H.B. frame, a Royal Ruby engine, and an Albion gearbox.

1924

 


   

HRD

Wolverhampton

HRD was founded at Heath Town, Wolverhampton by Howard Davies, a successful competition rider.

The machines were very successful in trials and competitions.

1934

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stevens

Wolverhampton

In March 1934 the Stevens brothers of Wolverhampton began to build motorcycles using the 'Stevens' name. The first two models were the 'D.S.1' and the 'U.S.2'.

Production continued until 1938 by which time around 1,000 machines had been built.

1939

 

 

Chell

Wolverhampton

The Chell Motor Company Limited of Wolverhampton built several motorcycles in 1939, all powered by Villiers engines.

They never went into production because of the War.

1946

 

 

 

 

LDV

Wolverhampton

The Turner Manufacturing Company of Wolverhampton formed Light Delivery Vehicles Limited to produce the 2-wheeled 'By-Van', the 3-wheeled 'Tri-Van' and the passenger carrying 'Rixi'.
1946

 

 

 

 

Swallow

Walsall

Sidecar manufacturer, the Swallow Coachbuilding Company Limited began producing motor scooters in 1946 at the company's factory in Walsall.

Several versions of the  'Gadabout' scooter were produced.

Production ended in the early 1950s.

1947

 

 

 

 

DMW

Wolverhampton
and Sedgley

Leslie Dawson built a few DMW machines in the early 1940s in Wolverhampton.

He joined forces with Harold Nock and production started on a large scale in 1947 at Valley Road, Sedgley.

Manufacturing ended in 1978.

1951

 

L.D.E.

Wolverhampton

Frank Desborough built a machine to compete in the Isle of Man T.T. at his premises in Commercial Road, Wolverhampton.

Its performance was not very good, and no others were built.

 
1956

 


 

 
Mercury

Dudley and
Wolverhampton

Mercury Industries produced motorcycles and motor scooters at Dudley. The company later moved to Pool Street, Wolverhampton, and produced the 'Pippin' scooter.

Few were built, and the business soon went into liquidation.

1957

 

 

 


   
DKR

Wolverhampton

D.K.R. was formed in 1957 to manufacture motor scooters which were popular at the time.

They were built at Neachells Lane, Wolverhampton. Production ceased in 1966 due to falling sales, and increased foreign competition.

1964

 

 


Sprite

Oldbury and
Halesowen

Sprite motorcycles were built in Ell Street, Oldbury by Hipkin & Evans, and later in Halesowen by Sprite Developments Limited.

The machines were built for use in trials and scrambling.

1969


    

 

 
Norton Villiers

Wolverhampton

In 1966 engine manufacturer Villiers was taken over by Manganese Bronze Holdings, which also owned A.M.C.

The company began to produce motorcycles at the old Villiers factory in Wolverhampton.


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