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British Industrial History

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British Motor Syndicate

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May 1898. Court Judgements as advertisment.

of Coventry, and 40 Holborn Viaduct, London

The aim of the organisation was to purchase as many as possible of the patents concerning the embryonic automotive industry and then to sell licences to use them. This company and several others were effectively controlled by Harry Lawson with inter-company licences to use the patents.

1895 The assets of the Daimler Motor Syndicate‎ were bought by E. T. Hooley, M. D. Rucker and Harry Lawson for £35,000 and the British Motor Syndicate was formed.

1895 November. The British Motor Syndicate was established [1].

1896 Maker of cars from 1896. Harry Lawson was chairman. Dividend declaration was publicised in the launch of the New Beeston Cycle Co[2]. Dividends were paid not from manufacturing but from royalties paid by subsidiary companies for licences to patents, apparently at the parent company's valuation[3].

1896 Claimed that the company had acquired 70 patents related to motor vehicles; 3 other companies would pay royalties for use of these licences - Daimler Motor Co makers of motor cars, Great Horseless Carriage Co makers of carriages and agricultural vehicles and New Beeston Cycle Co makers of motorcycles[4].

1896 Offer by the company of 1,000 guineas prize to the first 2 carriages in the race organised in connection with the 3rd Annual International Competition in Paris on the condition that the winners became the property of the British Motor Syndicate. It was also reported that Levassor's winning car from 1895 had been sold to British Motor Co [5].

1896 Prospectus issued shortly after the inaugural Brighton run had taken place on "Emancipation Day" in 1896. Directors were: Harry Lawson, Prince Ranjitsinhji, Herbert H. Mulliner, Thomas Humber, Thomas Robinson and Lord Norrys [6] but Thomas Humber was taken to court by Humber to prevent him taking up this directorship.

1896 The offer of shares in British Motor Syndicate was criticised in newspapers such as Pall Mall Gazette on the grounds that the rights the Syndicate owned and the profits to which it was entitled were shared with a number of other companies including Great Horseless Carriage Co, New Beeston Cycle Co, London Electric Cab Co, Daimler Motor Co, and that the patents rights were merely modifications of the Otto Engine; caution was advised about subscribing[7].

1896 Showed a car at the 1896 Motor Show with a Kane-Pennington engine

1896 The Accles tricycle was built for Lawson's British Motor Syndicate. It had been copied from De Dion but differed in that it had the engine ahead of the gear-driven rear axle. The frame was open and the machine could be driven by either sex; it also had better weight distribution. [8]

1897 June. Court case. British Motor Syndicate, Frederick William Lanchester and the Great Horseless Carriage Co v. Richter and another over infringement of patent 5,479 of 1890 concerning the starting of motors. Dugald Clerk was an expert witness.[9]

1897 November. A court case was bought to stop Lawson transferring funds of £50,000 from one of his companies to another one [10]

1897 November 18th. Second OGM. Meeting to discuss the taking over of the Great Horseless Carriage Co. Report on the meeting. [11][12]

1897 December After litigation the British Motor Syndicate reorganised and changed its name in December 1897 to the British Motor Company Ltd, taking over its affairs[13][14]

1898 George Iden was Manager here.

1898 June. Winding up order (Bankruptcy). [15]

1898 July. Legal dispute. British Motor Syndicate v Universal Motor Carriage and Cycle Co. Evidence from John Imray, A. Julius Boult, James Swinburne, engineers.[16][17]

1897 December. After litigation the British Motor Syndicate reorganised and changed its name in December 1897 to the British Motor Company Ltd, taking over its affairs[18][19]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Birmingham Daily Post, 3 July 1900
  2. The Standard 16 June 1896
  3. Birmingham Daily Post, 3 July 1900
  4. Daily News 22 August 1896
  5. The Belfast News-Letter 18 September 1896
  6. The Times, Tuesday, Dec 01, 1896
  7. The Pall Mall Gazette 30 November 1896
  8. The British Motorcycle Directory - Over 1,100 Marques from 1888 - by Roy Bacon and Ken Hallworth. Pub: The Crowood Press 2004 ISBN 1 86126 674 X
  9. The Autocar 1897/06/05
  10. The Times, Saturday, Nov 27, 1897
  11. The Autocar 1897/11/20
  12. The Autocar 1897/11/27
  13. The Morning Post 18 December 1900
  14. Vital to the Life of the Nation. Published 1946.
  15. The Times, Tuesday, Jun 07, 1898
  16. The Autocar 1898/07/09
  17. The Autocar 1898/07/16
  18. The Morning Post 18 December 1900
  19. Vital to the Life of the Nation. Published 1946.