Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Lawson Co

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Lawson Co, maker of motorcycles, of Beeston

Also called Humber-Beeston and Beeston-Humber.

1896 The Humber company started experimenting with powered cycles, working with entrepreneur Harry Lawson, who had the rights to build the De Dion engine, in Coventry. Produced the Beeston motorcycle from 1896 to 1901.

1896 The company first produced a tricycle that mirrored the De Dion. The 1.25hp engine was mounted behind the rear axle, which it drove by gears.

1897 The company produced its first motorized bicycles.

By 1898 the motor bicycles had gone into production and they manufactured a quadricycle - the tricyle fitted with two front wheels with a forecar-style passenger seat hung between them. That year also saw the arrival of a motorcycle with an extended frame to accommodate the engine that was mounted just in front of the rear wheel, and direct chain drive.

1899 Produced the Coventry Motette motorcycle. The project involved a modified version of the Bollée tricar that had belt drive and its cylinder alongside the rear wheel, and the crank-shaft and reduction gear ahead of it. The passenger seat went between the front wheels and the driver sat behind.

The company also built a ladies's model that had the engine ahead of the rear wheel, which was driven by a wooden pulley pressed against the tyre. The rider was seated above the petrol tank and hot-tube ignition burner, but despite this, the machine travelled safely from Coventry to London.

1901 the company closed.

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
  • [1] Ian Chadwick's motorcycle web site
  • The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle by Peter Henshaw. Published 2007. ISBN 978 1 8401 3967 9