Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Cygnus Engineering Co

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Cygnus were motorcycles produced from 1912 to 1913 at Frodsham, Warrington, Cheshire.

  • It was the name of the company that built the Swan semi-enclosed machines using JAP and Precision engines. Although usually known as Swan, they were sometimes referred to as Cygnus.
  • Their machine was unusual, with an open frame of light alloy, braced by steel, and an inner alloy frame for the two-speed gearbox. It had a tubular rear-suspension fork, controlled by laminated springs, and Druid forks. It was powered by a 3.5hp JAP engine. The crankcase was concealed, with the top half exposed, and the oil tank went behind the headstock. The petrol tank and chain-driven magneto went under the rider's seat, and it had chain transmission.
  • JAP V-twin and Precision engine were also used but Thornton's father (who had financed the venture), discovered that some employees had been stealing faulty parts and swiftly closed the firm. This therefore brought production to a close in 1913.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • 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
  • The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle by Peter Henshaw. Published 2007. ISBN 978 1 8401 3967 9