Author Topic: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond  (Read 3381 times)

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Offline cardan

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The recent sale of a Fairy motor on ebay started me reading and thinking about Fairies. Away with the fairies? Not the first time I've been accused of that.

There is quite a lot of stuff on this forum, for example:

http://www.douglasmotorcycles.net/index.php?topic=1946

http://www.douglasmotorcycles.net/index.php?topic=2163

http://www.douglasmotorcycles.net/index.php?topic=2703

http://www.douglasmotorcycles.net/index.php?topic=3438

http://www.douglasmotorcycles.net/index.php?topic=3994

http://www.douglasmotorcycles.net/index.php?topic=5494

http://www.douglasmotorcycles.net/index.php?topic=6540

Also "The Best Twin" has a pretty good account of the early days littered with names like Fee, Fairy, Barter and Light, all before the birth of Douglas as a manufacturer in its own right. As pointed out in one of the threads above, Fairy continued on for a number of years, quite independent of Barter and Douglas. The producer of the Fairy, Light Motors Ltd in Bristol, became The Fairy Motor Co., 102 Westcombe Hill, Blackheath, S.E., probably some time around December 1907. The Mark III Fairy was announced for 1909, but beyond that, not much.

I assume most of that is well know to someone - no doubt there is an excellent article in a long lost issue of NCR.

Here's something not mentioned in The Best Twin. We actually had quite a few Fairies out here in Australia, where they were sold both as complete motorcycles and as "motor sets" for building into your own cycle parts.

Robt. A. Mills and Co. Motor Engineers, King St, Sydney advertised Fairy motorcycles and engines in 1907. Attached below are a couple of examples of their adverts in 1907.

Another Fairy advert that interested me comes from one of the Newcastle (NSW - North of Sydney) papers of March 1907. The advert lists some fascinating early bikes - old in 1907 - including an American Columbia which is likely the 1903 model that I own, found at Salt Ash just north of Newcastle in the 1960s.

The surviving "Australian Fairies" were probably from these Sydney bikes.

Cheers

Leon

Offline Alan Cun

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #1 on: 26 Apr 2017 at 05:49 »
At this stage attempts to put my motors into frames is a little confusing. 1910 motors were from 442 to 1464. Now the number stamped on my fairy motor is 1044 it is 200 cc by the size of the pistons. Now the 10 motor is 457 and I suspect 350 cc. Going through some of the readings a certain number of fairys were produced and not all sold. So it makes sense that some were still sold after the Dougs made avail. Both my motors cylinders are screwed into the crankcases with a lock ring. The model D of 10 being secured to the crankcases by 2 studs. I dont know how many elec drills I have stripped looking for a 36 tooth gear to replace what has been machined off my fairy cam. If I have one made for sure some fairy parts will just turn up.

regards Alan

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #2 on: 26 Apr 2017 at 06:18 »

Hi Alan,

It would be interesting to compare a Model A (or even Model B) Douglas motor with a Fairy motor. I assume they are somewhat different, because so far as I can see there is NOT a direct lineage that runs from Fairy through to Douglas. Rather Barter left Light for Douglas to make and market a new machine, while Light became Fairy which petered out around 1910.

No doubt the Douglas and Fairy machines were similar. The Motor Cycle commented: "The Douglas looks own cousin to the Fairy, except that it has a direct drive. Its weight and power are similar, and the engine is the familiar horizontally opposed twin-cylinder." However I assume that Barter either had access to a patent, or there was no patent, to enable him to more-or-less duplicate the Fairy at Douglas.

The two extracts below are from The Motor Cycle.

The first is an advert from January 1908 at which time the Fairy is being made by the Fairy Motor Co. described as "Late Light Motors, Ltd.", suggesting that production of the Fairy continued rather smoothly from Light Motors Ltd to the Fairy Motor Co, while Douglas was being established elsewhere.

The second is from October 1909 - very late in the Fairy story - and seems to support your comment that there were Fairies (or in this case Fairy sets) left unsold.

Re capacity: The Douglas was quoted in 1907 as being 60 x 60 (340 cc). I've read that the Fairy was 200cc, but not yet in literature of the period. Back then capacity was rarely mentioned. Is a Fairy really that small?

Cheers

Leon


Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #3 on: 26 Apr 2017 at 06:36 »

Douglas (September 1908) top, Fairy below.

Cousins perhaps, but other than the h.o. layout and outside flywheel not too much in common?

Cheers

Leon


Offline Alan Cun

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #4 on: 26 Apr 2017 at 10:19 »
What you see on your pics of the Doug motor is what I have with the exception that the round plate on mine is clear of any writing and the flywheel has been replaced with a disc wheel about 5 inch in dia. No mag on mine. A Simms Bosch Mag may be a requirement in the future.
regards Alan

Offline TonyC

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #5 on: 26 Apr 2017 at 23:21 »
Attached is an advertising board for the Fairy motor cycle which measures 20" x 12". Complete motorcycle 26 guineas and the attachable motor for cycles 15 guineas!

Cheers Tony

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #6 on: 26 Apr 2017 at 23:22 »
"1910 motors were from 442 to 1464."

That's an interesting snippet Alan. Do you know if this is model year, or calendar year?

The reason I ask is that I have some photos of an early Douglas motor 1437 which falls at the end or your range. Your motor 457 is close to the beginning. While 457 has screw-in cylinders, 1427 has the cylinders retained by studs.

When the Model B was announced at the end of 1908 (i.e. start of 1909 model year), it was longer and lower, but the motor was said to be unchanged, so presumably the cylinders were screw-in.

By the way, 1437 has D.S. Co. Ld. forged on the con rod. Any ideas?

[Edit. Beautiful item Tony. The date is before the end of 1907, when Light became Fairy.]

Cheers

Leon

Offline Hutch

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #7 on: 27 Apr 2017 at 01:44 »
Model A from 1909 Douglas Motors sales brochure (Thanks to Doug K.). Looks like they were still trying to sell their first model as late as 1909?
-Ian

Offline Hutch

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #8 on: 27 Apr 2017 at 04:06 »
Same ad as Howard's 1906 one in one of the other threads listed above. this one from January 1907 for the Crystal palace Show

Offline Hutch

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #9 on: 27 Apr 2017 at 04:07 »
Notes from the show

Offline Hutch

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #10 on: 27 Apr 2017 at 04:12 »
What Douglas and Fairy were doing by November 1907 at the Stanley Show. There is that amazing V-4 Douglas. I guess if they had persisted with that design the LDMCC logo might look a bit different?

Offline Hutch

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #11 on: 27 Apr 2017 at 04:38 »
March 11th 1908 The Motor Cycle -  here The Fairy Motorcycle Co.suggest that they are about to introduce their new Mark 111 engine - suggesting that they had 2 before it.....the 2 1/2 HP and the 6 HP?

Offline Hutch

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #12 on: 27 Apr 2017 at 04:41 »
....and a reply by the man himself on 1st April 1908 suggesting that the merge with Douglas has occurred?

Offline Doug

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #13 on: 27 Apr 2017 at 04:44 »
Two photos from the British Registered Designs.

The first, #466,872, was taken out by J.J. Barter on October 10, 1905.



The second, #515258, was taken out by Douglas Brothers on June 11, 1910.



I came across the articles of incorporation for Light Motors Ltd for December 14, 1905; address Orchard Street, Bristol. There was another submission under the same name January 4th, 1907, but the address now listed as 180 Grays Inn Road, London. I am pretty sure at the time (2009) I was also looking for any entries under the company name "Fairy" as well (according to my handwritten notes), but do not have a record of any 'hits'. In a November 1907 advert Fairy Motor Co. gave an address of 102 Westcombe Hill, Blackheath, S.E.

When Light Motors was formed, the articles state that J.J. Bater was issued one share (of two thousand issued) in the new company. But in an amendment of the same time, for consideration of the sale and exclusive rights of all related patents and provisional patents he would be issued 799 shares valued at one pound each. In addition he was appointed Works Manager at two pound ten shillings a week, and was to devote the whole of his time and attention to the duties of 'the business'. There was also a bonus commission if the profits per year exceed a certain amount.







Mind you, he only had two accepted patent applications under Light Motors Ltd in 1906 and 1907. So it was probably easy to avoid any infringement when he transferred to Douglas Brothers.

-Doug






Offline Daren W Australia

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #14 on: 27 Apr 2017 at 10:51 »
180 Grays Inn Road, London
too many dougli not enough time!

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #15 on: 27 Apr 2017 at 13:48 »
Thanks Ian, Doug and Daren. I was thinking of a reasonably slow-paced and orderly attack on the Fairy, but let me have a stab at some of the issues raised.

Maybe Douglas first.

As I mentioned above, the Model B was announced at the end of 1908, and so was a "1909" model. Ian/Doug was the Model A (essentially the 1908 model announced at the end of 1907) carried forward into the 1909 catalogue (as Ian says) along side the Model B? Or did the Model B replace the Model A? There are funny stories about how many Model As were sold: according to Douglas Bros in The Motor Cycle they took so many orders at the 1907 Show that they could lower the price; later Willy (? I have a cat on my knee so I'm not getting up to check) Douglas reminisced that not one was sold at the Show. Anyway, all this is well covered in The Best Twin.

And Fairy second.

Doug Frost's story of the Fée (rhymes with day), on this forum via one of the links at the top of this thread, also appears at http://www.icenicam.org.uk/articles3/art0055.html , together with a very interesting little article with quotes attributed to J.J. Barter. He says in part:

"I then designed another motorcycle, a light machine weighing 60 lbs.  The engine was twin opposed and weighed only 13½lbs.  The flywheel weighed 6lb, leaving 7½lbs for the remainder of the engine.  The cylinders were 2 3/16" bore and stroke and attained a speed of 20mph.  This was the first time to my knowledge that a vibrationless twin opposed engine was used on a motor cycle.  The drive was by a small chain from the engine to the counter shaft through a clutch enabling a large pulley to be used."

"As a result of a comment made on this model by a leading American manufacturer in 1906, I designed a more powerful engine which I called the Fairy.  A company of Bristol men was formed and a large number of these machines were sold before the business was acquired by a London firm."

"I joined Messrs Douglas Brothers of Kingswood and was Works Manager for many years and consulting engineer until Douglas Motors 1932 was wound up..."

This raises some interesting issues.

2 3/16" is 55.6mm, so the capacity of the twin was 269cc? And the Fairy was more powerful? Was it the Fée that was 269cc? Not the "200cc" almost universally quoted? What is the bore and stroke of a Fairy?

I wonder just when Light Motors was sold to the "London Firm"? Clew says "early part of 1907", and Doug's research has "There was another submission under the same name January 4th, 1907, but the address now listed as 180 Grays Inn Road, London". The advert below, from the 11th edition of Motor Cycles and How to Manage Them (June 1907) has the Grays Inn Road address. So Light Motors was sold at the beginning of 1907 and moved - offices at least - to London. I suppose Barter went to Douglas at the same time, and had 11 months to get The Douglas ready for Show?

Doug I could find no more Barter/Light patents than the two you found long ago, and neither would have troubled Barter/Douglas from developing a new flat twin, of similar layout but very different in detail to The Fairy.

Leon
« Last Edit: 27 Apr 2017 at 13:53 by cardan »

Offline Doug

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #16 on: 27 Apr 2017 at 23:52 »
Leon,

There were other patents taken out by Barter, but they were not accepted/published.

By application number:
24859  06Dec01, J.J. Barter
20344  09Dec05, J.J. Barter
22642  06Nov06, J.J. Barter
1901    25Jan06, J.J. Barter & Light Motors
1902    25Jan06, J.J. Barter & Light Motors

I seem to remember in the Patent Office Journals (bound into annual volumes), there might have been the briefest of description of the patent application, but if so I did not make a note of it. These were all abandoned, probably due to an issue with prior art. The earliest one likely dealt with Barter's single cylinder engine design. Unfortunately when abandoned, all the submission material was discarded; a pity as for nothing else it would have given a view into what was on their mind at the time. However, being England, it would not surprise me if the documents are still laying lost in some repository at a forgotten branch office...

The model A is in the 1909 catalog, the earliest catalog I have a photocopy of. It is clearly the 'old' model with the very high diamond frame. The model B starting the trend to a lower frame and engine placement (albeit only slightly!) The description for the A states the engine is the same specification as the B (60x60), and naturally the B gets much more detail in the copy. But I am not sure that is the case as the exhaust port angles are different between the two illustrations. At first I thought this was just due to the 1909 A being an engraving and the 1909 B being a half-tone based on a photograph, but later on they show a section of an engine and a external photo, and again there are the two different port angles. Both still are screw in cylinders and the timing chest and engine's mounting to the frame look like they could be the same.

Though getting beyond the scope of this post, the 1910 catalog shows the model B continuing on, now as 'the old model' from the prior year, and the model C has pride of place as the new model. The model A has been omitted.

Unfortunately I have not seen and catalogs for the earlier Dougies (1907-08) or Light Motors. Just the odd tantalizing photo or article in the period magazine.

Back to Light Motors. Having a look again at the paperwork filed with the Trade Office shows the 1905 company was wound up in January 1907, and then immediately re-registered under the same name at a London address. The list of investors and their addresses indicates this is likely when Light Motors was sold to the "London interests". Total issued shares was now 10,000 pounds. J.J. Barter is still a share holder, but seems to have cashed-in a lot of his shares as he is down to owning 51 (vs. 800 in the incorporation of the 1905 company). 

I also have a copy of the winding up document, and the 1907 company Light Motors Ltd was wound up in September of the same year.



Presumably this is when it was sold to Fairy Motors, but as I mentioned before, I did not come across any records for them. If they lasted until c1909, they must be some paperwork for them surviving in the British Library, but I overlooked it. Unfortunately those records are not digitized, so I cannot check again from here on the other side of the Atlantic.

-Doug




Offline Hutch

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #17 on: 28 Apr 2017 at 04:40 »
Hi All,
The last Ad for Fairy I can find is this one for November 18th 1908, i don't have The Motor Cycle for the first half on 1909 so don't know if they were still going into 1909 but in the latter half of 1909 there do not appear to be any more adverts so I guess they were defunct sometime after this?

In their adverts for 1908 both Douglas and Fairy Motor Co. state that you can get sales brochures from them but I have never seen any of them. The 1909 Douglas Sales Brochure that Doug found is the earliest I have seen.

I found a engine size for a Fairy used in competition (!) of 57 x 54 mm which would make it a little bit over 275 cc, so Leon's 269cc would be correct.

The prices for new Fairies dropped dramatically during 1908 (from around 30 pounds down to just a bit over 12 pounds) so they were well and truly superseded by then.

cheers

Ian

Offline Alan Cun

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #18 on: 28 Apr 2017 at 11:34 »
A trip to the shed and the micrometer tells me the bore and stroke on my Fairy motor are both 57 mil is 57 x 54mm. On the motor is a number stamped 1044 this doesnt seem to add up with my 10 Doug motor 457. Near the screw hole where the front cylinder screws in is a raised cast number. REGD No 466xx2. The xx is where the push rod area has worn off the numbers.
regards Alan


[edit bore and stroke per correction in latter post. 04May17. Doug, Site Moderator]
« Last Edit: 04 May 2017 at 20:36 by Doug »

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #19 on: 28 Apr 2017 at 11:39 »
Doug's very comprehensive research gives us the (almost) complete chronology of the age of the Fairy. Barter's Fée prototype, the formation of Light Motors Limited in Orchard St, Bristol on 14 December 1905 to build and market "The Fairy", the sale/take over/transfer of the business, under the same name to "London interests" at 180 Grays Inn Road, London on January 4th, 1907, the winding up of this business on 2 October 1907, and the appearance of The Fairy Motor Co., 102 Westcombe Hill, Blackheath, S.E. some time before the end of that year, and, although Fairy survived in the Post Office directory until 1911, the finish of production of Fairy motorcycles some time around the end of 1908.

The key aspect of this story, supported by documentary evidence, is that there never was a merge with Douglas, nor did Douglas take over the Fairy, nor develop it. Nor was the Douglas the successor to the Fairy, not did Douglas take over the design of the Fairy.

The first Douglas, on the other hand, was designed and built by Joseph Barter during 1907 when he was an employee of Douglas Bros. I think it would be fair to say that the machine he produced was "informed" by his earlier designs (the Fée and the Fairy) but it might be a stretch to say that it was "based" on them. It was a different, new design and didn't (so far as we can see) rely on any "Fairy" patents.

Anyway, I know this is not news to a lot of people, because Jeff Clew had the story right in The Best Twin in 1974, and it has previously been spelled out here on the forum. I confess I didn't know it - and it's always fun to learn.

Interesting that the two classic books on vintage motorcycles - Ixion's 1950 Motor Cycle Cavalcade and Sheldon's 1961 Veteran & Vintage Motor Cycles - both carry versions of the Fairy-became-Douglas story, and we can read variations almost everywhere in books, magazines and on the internet. No wonder we're confused!

Cheers

Leon




Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #20 on: 28 Apr 2017 at 11:52 »
A trip to the shed and the micrometer tells me the bore and stroke on my Fairy motor are both 57 mil. On the motor is a number stamped 1044 this doesnt seem to add up with my 10 Doug motor 457. Near the screw hole where the front cylinder screws in is a raised cast number. REGD No 466xx2. The xx is where the push rod area has worn off the numbers.
regards Alan

Hi Alan,

57 x 57 makes 291cc - it's a monster! Ian found reference to 57 x 54 (might be a misprint), and it's not far from the 2 3/16 x 2 3/16 mentioned by Barter. This capacity makes more sense than the 200cc usually quoted - maybe that was the prototype Fée.

I don't know how to search Registered Designs - perhaps Doug can add something?

Since the Fairy and the Douglas were made by different companies, they will not share engine numbers. Have you seen this Fairy - https://www.classiccarsinrhodesia.co.za/Makes/Fairy%20mc.html - engine number 1050!

Cheers

Leon

Offline Alan Cun

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #21 on: 29 Apr 2017 at 10:50 »
Ah great that is the best pics I have seen so far. I thought mine had the wrong flywheel but mine is the same. If you look carefully near where the HT cable crosses from the rear spark plug a stamped number is there. Many years ago a bike shop north of Bris sold me a E29 600 and a T35 and Mk. I kept the E29 600 and swapped the other 2 for the fairy motor. I think the Fairy motor came from Lismore NSW but will confirm next time I am talking to my mate Brian Mc. Keep the info coming.
regards Alan
What you find when you have a second look the engine number is in the info section 1050 mine is 1044, Makes me happy that it is what it is.

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #22 on: 29 Apr 2017 at 13:43 »
If you look carefully near where the HT cable crosses from the rear spark plug a stamped number is there.

Hi Alan,

Yes the close numbers are interesting. Now I'm going to guess that 1044 and 1050 were not the 1044th and 1050th Fairies.

Also the "ebay Fairy" didn't have an engine number - or at least an obvious one.

So here's a theory:

Bristol-made Fairies (1906, [edit: up to January] 1907) have no engine numbers, and had FAIRY cast on the crankcase.

London-made Fairies have engine numbers starting at 1000 (or 1001) and have "FAIRY" (with quotation marks) cast on the crankcase.

Do we have more Fairy engines to test this with? Graeme does your FAIRY (no quotation marks) have an engine number? ALan does your motor have FAIRY or "FAIRY" on the crankcase?

Cheers

Leon

Zimbabwe "FAIRY" (eng. no. 1050 visible) top, ebay Australia FAIRY below.

« Last Edit: 30 Apr 2017 at 00:54 by cardan »

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #23 on: 29 Apr 2017 at 14:13 »

The Hellowell "FAIRY" (with quotation marks) is, I believe, engine number 1072. That fits.

Leon


Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #24 on: 30 Apr 2017 at 00:52 »
A couple of the Douglas books - Carrick, and Briercliffe and Brockway - have photos of this rather complete "FAIRY" motor, found in New Zealand.

Does anyone know the engine number? The theory would suggest 10xx.

Although Carrick captions it at 1905, and B&B says "probably made during 1905", my suggestion would be that this is a 1908 model as it is fitted with a drain tap on the bottom of the carburettor - a feature described as new at the Stanley Show in November 1907:

"The carburetter [sic] is also new, and the bottom of the spray chamber is fitted with a drain tap, into which the jet is screwed, so that the tap and jet may be removed if the latter becomes obstructed."

Shall we guess that the 1908-model London Fairies have carburettors with FAIRY cast in?

There is small mistake in my post above: Bristol Fairies up until January 1907, London Fairies after that. Of course there will be overlap as there would have been slow-moving stock!

Cheers

Leon



Offline graeme

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #25 on: 30 Apr 2017 at 08:02 »
Hi Leon

Been away from the computer for a couple of days, and look at all this! Lots to read through  :)

My Fairy has no engine number, and is the earlier design, like the one that came up for auction. There are quite a few differences to the later design, notably the crankcase having no sump, and the finning on the barrels is quite different too

Thanks for getting this thread going!

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #26 on: 30 Apr 2017 at 08:51 »

Thanks Graeme. FAIRY and no number. That fits.

In my mind I've been calling the later motors "big fin", but maybe I should call them "big sump".

Given the short time line in Bristol (December 1905 to January 1907, just 13 months) it would be reasonable to think that all the Bristol Fairies (Mark I) were the same, with no engine number. Unless we come up with new info, I think it would fair to call these 1906 models. Also the Bristol reference on Tony's Fairy advert dates it to 1906.

Graeme do you happen to know the bore and stroke of yours? Do you know where it came from originally?

It took me a while to come up with a photo of a Barter motorcycle, other than the one on page 23 of The Best Twin, but here it is, from 1903, and a slightly different model. Not very Douglasy.

Cheers

Leon



Offline TonyC

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #27 on: 30 Apr 2017 at 10:30 »
Attached is an advert showing prices for the two siz s of engine that Fairy produced..
Doug Frost has just put a picture of the other side in his editorial in the New Conrod.

Cheers Tony

Offline Alan Cun

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #28 on: 30 Apr 2017 at 10:38 »
Yes my motor is marked "FAIRY" and the more I study the pics the more I notice the differences from the early and later models.
regards Alan

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #29 on: 30 Apr 2017 at 10:55 »
Excellent - thanks Alan. I'm now pretty sure that the Mark I (1906) FAIRY small-fin no-sump model was rated 2 hp, in which case I'm sure it's somewhat smaller than your 2 1/2 / 3 hp "FAIRY" big-fin-big-sump 1907-08 Mark II. I'm not sure that we know what the Mark III, announced in the dying days of the Fairy Motor Co., looked like.

During 1907 and 1908 the Fairy could be had with or without magneto, but I still think they all rate as Mark IIs.

Thanks Tony for the great advert for the 6-8 hp. Although it's undated, the Grays Inn Rd address means we're in 1907. The big bike was certainly available in late 1906, and ran into 1908. There were a couple of different models, the last using what is obviously a Chater Lea frame. Here are some I've collected.

What is certain is that a number of 6-8 h.p. Fairies were produced - not just one as I have seen suggested. The Motor Cycle reports one seen on the road and scaling a test hill with no difficulty.

Cheers

Leon
« Last Edit: 30 Apr 2017 at 11:05 by cardan »

Offline Alan Cun

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #30 on: 30 Apr 2017 at 11:41 »
I have laid my bits out on the kitchen table and taken 4 pics. Have forwarded to Doug for insertion. You may notice brass fittings where the valve caps should be not knowing why.
regards Alan







[photos inserted. 30Apr17 Doug, Site moderator]
« Last Edit: 30 Apr 2017 at 13:53 by Doug »

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #31 on: 30 Apr 2017 at 23:17 »
Thanks Alan (and Doug). Cleary the engine is the 2 1/2 hp (often called 2 1/2 / 3 hp) coil ignition unit from 1907-1908, as distinct from the 1906-pattern 2 hp engine like the one on ebay or in Graeme's bike. All three engines (I think) originated in Australia.

In my original post, the May 1907 advertisement from Mills in Sydney advertises "2-hp FAIRY Outfits or Complete Bicycles, from £20". These would be old stock of the 1906 model.

At the end of May, the Mills advert read: "Motor Cycles, new 2 1/2 h.p. Fairy Motor Cycles, weight 75 lb, fitted with free engine clutch, spring forks, plated rims, engine twin cylinder, £35". These would be the current 1907 Model.

So we had both 2 and 2 1/2 hp models out here in 1907.

Five years later, in March 1912, one Fairy had made its way north to Brisbane and was offered for auction. Perhaps yours Alan? Unfortunately the power is not noted. This mention in Brisbane, and the mention near Newcastle in my original post are the only Fairy references I can find in Australian newspapers outside of Sydney.

Cheers

Leon

[Edit: Can anyone think of an activity that involves a Fairy Motor Cycle, 6 cases of marbles, and 54 dozen bottles of Vaseline? Side-slip trials? The mind boggles.]
« Last Edit: 30 Apr 2017 at 23:23 by cardan »

Offline graeme

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #32 on: 01 May 2017 at 01:48 »
Quick reply, bit busy to get more written down.

I've measured mine and it works out to be 265cc.

The engine, clutch etc were were found by Ray Corlett in the early 60s (not sure where, but presumably in the Sydney environs), it was being used to power a saw bench, and had been adapted to drive a magneto for ignition rather than the original wipe contact set up

Offline Alan Cun

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #33 on: 01 May 2017 at 09:08 »
I have looked at the brass fittings which seems to take place of valve caps but on looking closer they actually house the spring loaded suction intake valves. The tubing of these actually block the lower threaded holes you would think would be intake ports. Maybe a plug fits these ports. These brass fitting have a hole about 5/8 that would take an intake manifold. On the cam you can notice the 36 tooth gear has been machined off.
regards Alan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #34 on: 01 May 2017 at 10:16 »

Hi Alan,

Yes the inlet manifold comes in from underneath, so there must be holes in the inlet cages where they line up with the manifold. Perhaps someone has started making now ones?

These horizontal atmospheric inlet valves were - according to an article in the Motor Cycle in 1912 - a problem. Usually the inlet valves would be vertical, so that the weight of the valve doesn't cause friction on the guide. Of course the first Douglas had vertical inlets, and for some bizarre reason exhausts.

You can see the inlet arrangement nicely on the ebay engine.

Cheers

Leon

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #35 on: 01 May 2017 at 23:21 »

Speaking of early Douglases, I notice there is a "thing" about the V four presented at the Stanley Show in November 1907.

Starting with The Best Twin, the story told is that a V four ENGINE was displayed at the Show. This is a bit strange as the report on the show described the V four as "one of the most interesting motor bicycles in the exhibition", and the illustration is of a complete machine.

We've talked before on this forum about the link between Douglas and components maker Chater Lea, and the V four is a classic example: the motor is housed in a pure Chater Lea frame set. The big Fairy used the same frame components, but this was probably coincidental as CL were a large supplier of frame components to the trade, and had a catalogue of frame parts for motor cycles.

Here's the Stanley Show V four from The Motor Cycle in November 1907, and the Number 6 frame set from the 1907 Chater Lea catalogue. The spring fork on the 6hp Fairy is also a CL item.

Leon

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #36 on: 02 May 2017 at 00:57 »
Another quick chime in - an earlier Barter single cylinder machine still exists in Eire, I remember it in the NCR many years back, perhaps Doug has a copy still?

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #37 on: 02 May 2017 at 01:38 »
A quick chime back. Around 1903 Mikael Pedersen, whose inventions included the fabulous Dursley Pedersen bicycle, is said to have built a small number of motorcycles using single-cylinder Barter engines. http://www.dursley-pedersen.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=193&Itemid=277

Dursley is not far from Bristol (says the South Australian).

Cheers

Leon

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #38 on: 02 May 2017 at 03:24 »
Graeme,

There was a write-up in the NCR about the Barter single, probably by Doug Frost when he was doing his research on his Fee replica. Problem is the is NCR is not indexed, and neither is my brain! Still, I think it is about going on ten years back I should think. I'll have a dig. There might have been a mention of a survivor in that article, though I can not remember specifics of it. I only remember the bizarre mechanical details of the floating crank pin and how the two flywheel disks were synchronized by a geared jack shaft. it sounded like the engine had an expected life of one hundred hours at most.

-Doug

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #39 on: 02 May 2017 at 04:08 »
Bore and stroke....or is that stroke and bore?

Here are the two references I can find for fairy bore and stroke.First is from A.C.U Quarterly Trial  The Motor Cycle Jan 22nd 1908 and the second is from The Motor Cycle  April 29th 1908

first had bore and stroke 54 x 57 mm for a capacity of about 261 cc
second has bore and stroke of 57 x 54 for a capacity of a bit over 275 cc
Same rider J. Beck in both so probably same bike so anyone's guess to which one is correct or in fact it was measured correctly or was a typo !? (maybe his competition bike was the short stroke / big bore version ! ha ha  :D)

Dimensions quoted by Joseph Barter is 2 3/16" by 2 3/16" (55.56mm bore and stroke) for a capacity of about 269 cc (as Leon stated above)
Graeme measured his at 265cc so that is good enough for me.

Did the oft quoted "200cc" come from Barter's original prototype? maybe it was a smaller engine that the later ones?

-Ian


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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #40 on: 02 May 2017 at 04:27 »
Joe Barter did get some recognition for his efforts with the Fairy in the front page  of The Motor Cycle 5th October 1916


-Ian


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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #41 on: 02 May 2017 at 05:33 »
Just had a thought, if approx. 265cc is rated at 2 1/2 h.p , then 200cc would be about 2 h.p. rating - so two different "Mark 1" Fairy capacities?
2HP = 200cc (maybe the ones offered as an add on motors for bicycles or early Fee?),
 2 1/2 H.P.  = 265cc (i.e.like Graeme's)
Maybe the ACU Trial Fairies were actually 57 x 57mm bore and stroke like Alan's "Mark 11" Fairy at 291cc

???

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #42 on: 02 May 2017 at 09:31 »
From the Australasian Newspaper 31st March 1906 - Bore and stroke quoted as 57mm. Interesting reading about the ignition cut out - just like a modern ride on mower!!

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #43 on: 02 May 2017 at 19:02 »
An article on the Fee attached from the Motor Cycle of October the 30th 1905
Cheers Tony





[edit image. 02May17 Doug, Site Moderator]
« Last Edit: 02 May 2017 at 21:14 by Doug »

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #44 on: 02 May 2017 at 23:28 »
Graeme,

The article a surviving Barter single was in the 2001 Mar/Apr issue of the New ConRod (NCR) magazine. Restoration and the article was by Jonathan Bewly for the owner Ernie Lyons (1946 Manx GP winner). The engine was mounted in a cycle frame of unknown origin and the machine was called the Tredagh, manufactured in Droghada (40 miles north of Dublin, Ireland.) There was a photo of the crankcase (with the name "Goodwin" cast in-situ, reason unknown) and picture of the flywheel/geared-counter shaft assembly. No photo of the entire machine, but there was a mention that the intention was to enter it in the Pioneer Run the following year. I had a flip through the issues the following year, but if it attended, no one submitted a photo of it.

It was noted in a followup in the 2010 Mar/Apr issue of the NCR that there were visible differences in crankcase ribbing between period photos of the "Goodwin" Barter engine, and the first one manufactured for Barter by the Humpage, Jaques, and Pederson concern.

A three-part article on J.J. Barter by Doug Frost ran in the 2009 Nov/Dec, 2010 jan/Feb, and 2010 Mar/Apr issues of the NCR. There was also a photo of a more conventional flywheel assembly Barter single IOE cylinder engine with "Douglas" cast into the crankcase, intended to clip into the vee of a diamond bicycle frame. The photos of the Fee and Fairy have already been reproduced here in this thread.

-Doug

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #45 on: 02 May 2017 at 23:31 »
The bike in Tony's article is clearly the prototype, and at 2 3/16 x 2 3/16 (269cc) it's a bit smaller than the 57x57 (291cc) of the later models. Graeme's 1906 seems to be the former; Alan's 1907-8 the latter.

Here's an article from the Motor Cycle  February 23rd. 1911 p183 that harks back to the report in Tony's article. There are several things in the article that are clearly wrong. For example:

"the next thing we heard..," well, no, the Motor Cycle had many reports on The Fairy at Shows and in their adverts.

"... Douglas Bros. ... had taken up the manufacture of the machine under their own name, and, most important of all, had adopted all the improvements outlined above." As we know, they didn't. Instead Barter designed a new machine for them, along the lines of the Fairy but with many changes, and Fairy production and sales continued elsewhere.

In many ways this article is the beginning of the "Fairy becomes Douglas" myth. I wonder if Barter, or Douglas, wanted the story to sound like this?

Cheers

Leon

"A Week-end on a Two-speed Douglas.

"How well we can recall, in the winter of 1905, a Mr. Barter calling at our office with an ordinary pedal bicycle strengthened in various parts, mounted into which was a wonderfully clever twin-cylinder horizontally opposed engine of his own design. That machine was the forerunner of the present-day Douglas.

"In its earliest form it was christened the Fee, and it was left with the staff of this journal for trial. Weighing altogether about 75 lbs., it attracted a good deal of attention, and earned the plaudits of many engineers who examined it. Our trials, however, were not altogether free from trouble, for the current distributer with which the engine was fitted was not without blemish, neither was the round belt drive with jockey pulley ideal, and the horizontal valves in the cylinder were found to make the engine somewhat erratic in the power given off. Later it was re-designed and named the Fairy, and a number were sold, but what was wanted to make the machine a success — and we openly expressed this opinion at the time — were vertically placed inlet valves, a magneto, and direct V belt drive.

"How Mr. Douglas came to meet Mr. Barter we know not, but the next we heard of this wonderful little Fee-cum-Fairy was a letter from Douglas Bros., general engineers and ironfounders, of Bristol, informing us that they had taken up the manufacture of the machine under their own name, and, most important of all, had adopted all the improvements outlined above. We need go no further with this brief history, for we all know the success the Douglas has attained in the comparatively short period of four years, but will pass on to the latest creation of the company — the two-speed and free engine Douglas and its performances on the road..."
« Last Edit: 02 May 2017 at 23:37 by cardan »

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #46 on: 03 May 2017 at 00:51 »
Doug - did the Barter motor have a screw-in cylinder? (Goodwin was probably Goodwin Bros in London, who built bikes with clip-on Minervas, BUT Arthur Goodwin was the Works manager at Ormonde, who built bikes with Belgian Kelecom motors, and Kelecom motors had screw-in cylinders.)

Leon

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #47 on: 03 May 2017 at 03:08 »
Leon,

No. I can see in the photos that the Barter, Barter-Goodwin, and Douglas (Barter) singles had a conventional cylinder base flange with studs and nuts in the four corners. They did not share the thread in cylinders of the Fee, Fairy, and early Douglas opposed twins.

-Doug
« Last Edit: 03 May 2017 at 03:55 by Doug »

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #48 on: 03 May 2017 at 03:48 »

Oh thank goodness!

Leon

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #49 on: 04 May 2017 at 08:57 »
Hi Leon,

Just found this from the New Zealand Publication "Progress" Volume 111 issue 5 March 1908 page 163 thanks to Papers Past. The pictures of the engine and bike are from p161. The engine number looks like 1076 or 1070 or something like that?.

-cheers

Ian

Offline Alan Cun

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #50 on: 04 May 2017 at 10:36 »
After rechecking the stroke on my Fairy motor with the crank laying flat I have made a mistake in the stroke which should be 54 mm.
regards Alan



[Made specified correction to previous post. 04May17. Doug, Site Moderator]
« Last Edit: 04 May 2017 at 20:37 by Doug »

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #51 on: 04 May 2017 at 13:17 »

Mmm... 57x54 is 275cc which sounds fine for 2 1/2 hp. Tempting to think the earlier 2 hp motors might have been 54x54 = 247cc, except that 54 mm is almost bang on 2 1/8, rather than Barter's 2 3/16.

The NZ article is interesting Ian. Nice to see another engine number just nicely above 1000 - maybe total Fairy production was something like 1-200? There are certainly many of them in the classifieds of the Motor Cycle, Clew says Japan, testimonials from South Africa, articles in NZ, and a number in Sydney. Mills had 6 Fairy motor cycles and 3 motor sets left in October 1907, so the number coming to Australia might have been something like 10-20?

Cheers

Leon

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #52 on: 04 May 2017 at 13:26 »

Not to mention the Fairies that went to Nyassaland. Here's Mr. Norman with his, c1910.

Leon

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #53 on: 05 May 2017 at 01:11 »
Here is one of the many ads in The Motor Cycle classified for Fairies in 1908 as suggested by Leon, but this one is from Douglas themselves.....maybe came from Barter or the one they used to copy for the Douglas Model A?

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #54 on: 05 May 2017 at 09:04 »
Attached is an image which has the same pictures of an early Fairy but has different transcript around it and probably predates the previous one.
Interesting to see a different name in Mr P.M.G.Tombs

Cheers Tony

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #55 on: 05 May 2017 at 10:22 »

That would be none other than Pelham Mervyn Gainsford Tombs, 37, Henleaze Gardens, Bristol, Commercial Agent, who had about 20% of the shares in the original Light Motors Ltd, 13 December 1905 - see Doug's document in Reply 13 above. One of the money men, no doubt. Interesting that "the big Fairy" was on the horizon even at this early date - is there a date Tony? I'd guess some time around December 1905 or January 1906.

Interesting also that Douglas had a Fairy, because Fairy had Douglases as well! This advert comes from September 1908, the beginning of the end for Fairy. The Douglas and Fairy engines, other than their general layout, were really very different. "Comparison" perhaps rather than "copying".

Cheers

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #56 on: 06 May 2017 at 09:19 »
I don't think any of the Fairys (is this better than Fairies?) built during 1907 were fitted with magnetos.

The first mention I can find of a Fairy magneto is at the Stanley Show in November 1907 when the features of note were the new carburettor, handle-bar control for the valve lifter, and the option "if desired" of a lightweight, gear-driven magneto, rather than the coil ignition used up until then.

The lightweight Douglas was announced at this same Show, in November 1907, where it was described as having "high-tension magneto, gear driven, ... with a high-tension distributer [sic]" . Despite this description, early advertising (below, from January 1908) showed a bike with coil ignition, although with "Simms Bosch H. T. Magneto" written underneath. Nothing about optional coil ignition. Presumably the magneto-less Model A Douglases - pictures of at least two appear in the various Douglas books - could be thought of a prototypes, or perhaps very early production machines. Since the prevailing story is that only 20-something machines were built in this first batch, perhaps very-very-early production.

Similar Fairy advertising in January 1908 offered a choice of magneto or coil. Maybe the choice was more like "new model, or left-overs from last year"!

By mid-1908, both Fairy and Douglas advertising showed bikes with magneto ignition. Note the Fairy testimonial from South Africa.

Cheers

Leon

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #57 on: 08 May 2017 at 05:21 »
There's plenty of evidence that Fairy motorcycles were being developed, produced, marketed and sold up until around mid-1908, some 18 months after we think Barter left Fairy and moved to Douglas to develop the Model A. The development of the magneto model for 1908 and the advertising above suggest all was well, but it seems not.

It looks there was little or no production of Fairys after mid-1908.

Look at the Fairy Motor Co. advert in the previous post. Dated June 1908 it shows the Fairy, with a testimonial, and says - more or less - come any buy a Fairy from us.

Now look at the advert in the post before that, from September 1908. The Fairy Motor Co. had to pay to insert it, but although it offers a shop-soiled Fairy and a couple of second-hand Faries, there is no mention of NEW Fairy motorcycles. And what does "We shall be pleased to advertise your machines in our register..." mean? Douglases aside, the other machines offered for sale are older, low value machines.

From there it only gets worse. Here are more adverts posted by the Fairy Motor Co. in the last months of 1908. No mention of new bikes, and the company seems to be selling off lots of parts that might have been in store to build Fairys that were never assembled. Liquidation, I think.

Yes the Fairy Motor Co. lived on, probably even into 1910. If by chance they were manufacturing motorcycles, it's hard to imagine why they would not advertise these instead of an ancient, tyre-less Argyle car for 10 quid, as they did in September 1909.

Cheers

Leon

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #58 on: 09 May 2017 at 07:00 »

In the opening post of this thread, I mentioned that The Fairy Motor Co. announced its "Mark III" model for 1909, but little more was heard from them. It seems likely that the "Mark I" Fairy (not called this at the time) was the small-fin no-sump offering (like Graeme's, and the ebay Fairy motor), and the Mark II was the more common large-fin model with sump (like Alan's motor and the Zimbabwe and Hellowell bikes), which could be had with either coil or magneto ignition. I'm pretty sure we haven't seen the prototype that was called the "Mark III".

Let me explain.

Committed Fairy rider M. Marshall wrote to the Motor Cycle in March 1908 regarding the virtues of a correctly-engineered outside flywheel, as used on his 2 1/2 h.p. magneto ignition model. As this model was first seen late in 1907, it would have been the "latest model" in March 1908. After making his point, Marshall concludes:

"Although from what I have seen of the new 1908 model on the road being tested, I expect shortly to be in the position of most motorcyclists at this time of year, namely, examining the state of my exchequer with a view to the purchase on another faithful friend."

I think this translates as: "I've seen the new Fairy being tested, and I want one."

A week later, 11 March 1908, The Fairy Motor Co. replies, and after extolling the virtues of its flywheel concludes: "We hope to be able to give full particulars of our new [model] Mark III engine, to which Mr. Marshall refers, in [this] journal shortly."

So Mr. Marshall has seen the Mark III Fairy on the road, and he wants one, despite already having an up-to-date magneto model. It must have been something different.

As outlined in the previous post, things were going badly at The Fairy Motor Co. during 1908, and the only other reference I can find to the Mark III is the large display advert (Ian has posted it above in Reply #17) from 18 November 1908 to say FMC are not displaying at the Stanley Show, but to write for particulars of the Mark III Fairy (described only as a "new magneto model") because "you will be interested". The last gasp? Display adverts weren't cheap, and perhaps nobody was interested.

What was the Mark III Fairy? I suppose an updated lightweight.

Suggestions welcome.

Leon

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #59 on: 09 May 2017 at 23:00 »
The three ages of the Lightweight Fairy: The 1905 Fee (Barter's prototype Fairy), The 1906 Mark I Fairy, and the 1907-8 Mark II Fairy (coil ignition only 1907, coil or magneto ignition 1908).

Motor sets were available for fitting to any bicycle frame, so cycle parts may vary.

Leon

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #60 on: 10 May 2017 at 02:45 »

I've just replied to a 10-year-old thread http://www.douglasmotorcycles.net/index.php?topic=1946 about the Fairy and the beginnings of Douglas. I don't want to revive this thread, but I do want to acknowledge the people who started me thinking about the topic, particular thanks to Michiel who knew ten years ago what I've only just learned! To keep everything together I'll post my comments here as well:


Sorry to take ten years to reply to this thread, but after a bit of poking around I think we now have answers to most of the questions posted here. See http://www.douglasmotorcycles.net/index.php?topic=6560.0;all

Thanks to Howard for kicking the topic off with the important observation that both Fairy and Douglas were advertising at the end of 1907. He wonders "... when Douglas Bros actually took over The Fairy Motor Co?". The answer is NEVER, the Fairy Motor Co. seems to have died a quiet death, motor-cycle-production-wise, in the latter half of 1908, more than 18 months after Barter left Fairy to go to Douglas, where he designed and brought to production a new flat-twin motorcycle - The Model A Douglas. There are many, many books and articles that tell the story of Douglas taking over the remains of the Light Motors Ltd - the story is incorrect.

Graeme asks whether any of the large Fairys sold. The answer is "yes". It's not clear how many were made between when they were first mentioned in the period literature (at the formation of the first Light Motors Ltd. in December 1905) and mid 1908, but there are photos of three different bikes, mention of one seen at a hill climb in the UK, one privately for sale in the classifieds of the Motor Cycle in 1910, and even one reported at an event in Sydney in May 1910 in the hands of V. St. Clair. So while Clew says "it is alleged that only one was made", I'd say there were definitely four, and there might have been as many as 10-20?

Eddie makes a very good point: "By 1907, Barter was working at the Douglas factory - so, maybe, the trading name 'Fairy' had been sold or relinquished by Barter." Yes it had. Doug has the documents to show that the original Light Motors Ltd. was sold and a new entity with the same name, but a London address (180 Grays Inn Road), was incorporated on January 4th, 1907. Barter also refers to the sale of Light "to London interests" in a 1930s memoir in a Bristol newspaper.

Eddie also asks: "Was this machine anything to do with the 'Fairy' that developed into the Douglas?" Yes, and no. Barter's 1905 Fee developed into the 1906 Fairy, which developed into the 1907 model Fairy, and then into the 1908 model Fairy. I don't think we can prove it, but it's likely that Barter left Fairy at the time of the sale of Light to the London interests in January 1907, so while the Fairy developed beyond this date it was without Barter. Presumably Barter spent 1907 at Douglas developing a new motorcycle, the Model A, which debuted at the Stanley Show (with the fabulous V Four) in November 1907.

Last, it is Michiel who gets the prize for recognising that the tradition story "... that Joseph Barter went bankrupt in early 1907 and merged with Douglas to produce the first prototype of the Douglas twin later that year ..." is incorrect. He goes on: "It seems more and more plausible that his own company was sold off, probably including stock, patents and drawings and formed the basis for the Fairy Motor Company of Blackheath, London." Almost perfect Michiel! There was another company "Light Motors Ltd., London" in between, but the general idea is correct, and we now have enough information to confirm this version of the story.

We can help Michiel with his concern about magnetos, because the post-Barter Fairy sold during 1907 used coil ignition, so a coil ignition prototype Model A would have matched the Fairy spec. Both Douglas and Fairy motorcycles at the Stanley Show in November 1907 had "new" magnetos; clearly the Bosch magneto salesman had been knocking on doors in Bristol and London during the year.

Michiel concludes: "And that leads me to the conclusion that the Fairy Motor Company did more than just sell off some old stock: they were building brand new motorcycles based on a proven design!" Yes, they were!

Cheers

Leon

Offline graeme

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #61 on: 10 May 2017 at 07:07 »
Thanks Leon - plus Ian, Doug, Alan, Howard et al

This has been a great bit of research, and I'm sure I'm not alone in being thankful for your perseverance to get to the bottom of the story!

Offline Hutch

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #62 on: 11 May 2017 at 04:57 »
Yes well done to Leon for his persistence! :-)

Not sure how I missed this picture, but it goes to show that modern text recognition software doesn't always detect what you are looking for and it pays sometimes to do it the old fashioned way !

From pg 422 The Motor Cycle May 22 1907

Pity the caption was cut off in the scanning - interesting to find out what the "Whirling Wheel" exhibition was.....:-)


-Ian

Offline Hutch

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #63 on: 11 May 2017 at 05:37 »
Here is a slightly better copy of Mr. Norman in Nyassaland (thanks Leon for finding out who he was!) from NCR. Not sure what issue it was from, but it was quite a while ago. Further to the comment in the N.Z. publication Progress in 1908 that the Mk11 Fairy used BSA components the chainwheel on Mr. Norman's bike does look very BSA like. Also some of the other cycle parts do appear to resemble BSA fittings. The spring fork arrangement on his Fairy appears to be an XL'All spring fork manufactured by the Eclipse Motor and Cycle Co. - maybe the spring fork type described in the Mill's and Co. newspaper ad?

More info on BSA fittings information here for comparison;

https://bsamuseum.wordpress.com/1905-bsa-fittings-bicycle/
http://www.oldbike.eu/museum/1907-2/1907-bsa-fittings-machine/

cheers

Ian

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #64 on: 11 May 2017 at 08:31 »

Thanks Ian. The "Whirling Wheel" Fairy is a classic - the description (I think) suggests it is the "smallest motor cycle yet built", and a bit of scaling suggests the wheels are around 20" diameter. So not a massively-gear road bike, but a tiny little clown bike!

Shall we add it to the gallery of Odd Fairy Contraptions? Two more entries below.

Re Mr. Norman: the caption in The Motor Cycle says Nyassaland. The photo was also in the Douglas Centenary book, where it was labelled as being in Rhodesia. I'll leave geographically interested parties to sort that one out! Lots of name and border changes in Africa in the last 100 years.

Yes some of the cycle parts look BSA, but there was also a roaring trade in "BSA pattern" parts, so I wouldn't like to be too certain. Mr Drew released the Druid fork in 1907, and the lightweight single-blade version was very popular. I think Model A Douglas spring forks would be Druid, but I'm not sure about Fairy.

Cheers

Leon


Offline 9triton

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #65 on: 11 May 2017 at 13:05 »
what a great thread -well done guys

Offline graeme

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #66 on: 12 May 2017 at 00:23 »
For your edufication Leon - Nyasaland was what is now Malawi. Back in the day the administrative area was Rhodesia and Nyasaland

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #67 on: 12 May 2017 at 02:07 »
Brilliant! I see that Nyassaland shared a border with Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) so the bike might have been sold in Rhodesia, where there is a survivor. UK, Rhodesia, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, ... and to think Clew says "nearly all were exported to Japan"!

Two questions spring to mind: Who was driving the export sales of Fairy motorcycles? and How many Fairys were produced?

Re exports: Pre 1910 many of the cars coming from the continent and UK into Australia were imported by firms like Tozer, Kemsley and Fisher who represented a range of manufacturers and wholesaled vehicles to distributors in the colonies. TKF were active in all the colonies - particularly Australia, New Zealand and India - so if someone at Light/Fairy had the correct contacts with a firm like TKF sales of half-a-dozen Fairys here and there in the colonies could be achieved without Fairy themselves being involved.

Re production: The standard story is that Fairy were quite unsuccessful, despite Clew's assertion that "at the peak" Fairy production "reached ten per week". Ten per week for a couple of months is 85 bikes! Given the reasonable number of machines appearing second-hand in the small adverts in The Motor Cycle 1907-1911 (including the still-new motor sets being flogged off by Maudes as late as October 1909), maybe 10-20 machines in Australia, and the other markets (including "nearly all" of them in Japan), and given the Mark 2 engine numbers surviving in the range (maybe) 1000 - 1070-odd, I suppose there might have been 100-200 Fairy motorcycles/motor sets all told? Not as unsuccessful as some!

Cheers

Leon

 

Offline graeme

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #68 on: 13 May 2017 at 00:37 »
In re-reading this thread right through, it has dawned on me that one obvious tie-up between Light Motors and Douglas that hasn't been noted, is that the Douglas company would clearly have been well aware of the goings-on at Light Motors by supplying Joseph Barter with castings for his machines. I note that Jeff Clew writes that cylinders and cranks for the Fairy were supplied by Aeron Jackson, a neighbouring foundry, but presumably the crankcase and other sundries, including the carburettor were made by Douglas. I wonder if with Willie Douglas becoming increasingly involved with Barter whether maybe even more of the engine castings were made at the Douglas foundry, perhaps when the MkII design came into production? Pure conjecture of course - I wonder if the later Fairy engines have any signs indicating Douglas manufacture?

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #69 on: 13 May 2017 at 07:25 »

Hi Graeme,

It's a good thought - certainly we don't know where and by whom Fairy motors were manufactured after the sale of the first Light Motors Ltd (in Bristol) in January 1907 and the change of address to London. From Daren's photo of modern 180 Grays Inn Rd it doesn't look to be the sort of place to make motors, although it's not impossible. Perhaps manufacturing continued at Orchard St, Bristol?

The problem I have with the story of Willie Douglas flitting around visiting the Williamsons in Birmingham and Barter at Orchard St is that I don't know where it comes from. Did Willie write a memoir? Similarly it would be great to have some evidence to support the story that Douglas made castings for Light Motors Ltd. Re-reading Clew I'm quite sure he didn't realise that Fairy continued on after Barter left to join Douglas, and so far I've not seen anything to support Clew's story that a Fairy had a 200 cc engine. A "creation story" is a nice thing to have, and in the 1911 Motor Cycle article above I sense Douglas was busy crafting theirs very early on. A nice orderly progression from Fairy to the first Douglas is an easy story to believe, particularly when it includes William Douglas listening to son Willie, then offering a benevolent hand to "rescue" Barter and his motorcycles.

The truth is a little more complicated!

Are you coming over to the NVR in September? Bringing the Fairy? I bags a ride sometime.

Cheers

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #70 on: 14 May 2017 at 06:03 »
Re capacity: Despite Clew's reference to "200 cc", repeated pretty much everywhere, period references suggest 2 3/16 x 2 3/16 (55.5 x 55.5) = 269 cc is the best guess at the capacity of the Fee and Mark 1 Fairys, both of which were called "2 1/2 h.p.". (Let's ignore the Australian small ads that refer to some early Fairys as 2 h.p.)

Motor Cycle, 30 October 1905, The Fee Motor Bicycle "The bore and stroke of each cylinder is 2 3/16, and Mr. Barter informs us that this gives 2 1/2 h.p."

Bristol Evening World, mid-1930s, J.J. Barter says... "I then designed another motorcycle, a light machine weighing 60 lbs... The cylinders were 2 3/16" bore and stroke and attained a speed of 20mph."

In the Bristol Evening World article, Barter goes on to say "As a result of a comment made on this model by a leading American manufacturer in 1906, I designed a more powerful engine which I called the Fairy.  A company of Bristol men was formed and a large number of these machines were sold before the business was acquired by a London firm." This is a bit muddled, because until the formation of Light Motors in December 1905 there would have been only the prototype to for the "leading American manufacturer" to look at. But let me guess that the American pointed out that the in the US the trend was to over-square motors, and this lead to the development of the "more powerful engine" (note, not "larger capacity" engine) that would have been 57 bore  x 54 stroke (275 cc) Mark 2 Fairy.

Progress, NZ, March 1908, The Fairy Motor Cycle "The engine gives 2 1/2 h.p. at 1700 revolutions per minute, the bore and stroke being 57 by 54 mm."

The only other reference we've come up with is Australasian, 31 March 1906, Light Motor-Cycle "Fairy" "The bore and stroke are both 57 millimetres, and the makers claim for it 2 1/2 h.p. at 1,700 revolutions per minute." An error perhaps? Perhaps in the conversion of 2 3/16" into mm, which would have been done by either long multiplication, log tables, or a slide rule!!

Let's go with 2 3/16 square 269 cc for Fee and Mark 1, and 57 x 54 275 cc for Mark 2, both rated 2 1/2 h.p. (often 2 1/2 - 3 h.p. for the Mark 2), at least until there is evidence to the contrary. I can't find anything to support 200 cc, for either prototype or Fee, and it's probably just wrong.

Cheers

Leon

Offline Hutch

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #71 on: 15 May 2017 at 08:26 »
Confirmation of the winding up date of Light Motors Ltd from The London Gazette Feb 5th 1907 and also it looks like Fairy Motor's struggled on until 1912 as stated in the London gazette 5th Nov 1912

cheers

Ian

Offline Hutch

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #72 on: 15 May 2017 at 08:42 »
We are not the only ones confused about the capacity of the Fairy - this question from The Motorcycle Sept 18th 1913 !I gather the  HP rating refereed to would be a RAC one by 1913 (was that introduced in about 1910?) rather than an actual HP rating? I have not found a reply yet to ECH's question yet......

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #73 on: 15 May 2017 at 22:51 »

Hi Ian,

The RAC rating for car engines began around 1910, and depended, via a formula, on bore size and number of cylinders, but NOT the stroke. And since the cost of road tax depended on the RAC rating, British cars for many years had small bores and long stokes because they were cheaper to register. All the while, American cars like T Fords had big bores and short stroke because they produced more power.

Bikes didn't use the RAC rating. By the teens, hp ratings were most often (but not always!!) just a way of expressing the capacity, so 2 1/4 hp was 250, 2 3/4 hp was 350, 3 1/2 hp was 500, 6 hp was 750 and 8 hp was 1000cc. Towards the end of the 1920s there was a shift to "penny a cc", so 349cc became 3.49 hp, 499cc 4.99 hp and so on.

All this waffle is my way of saying that I have while I can guess about Fairy capacity, I have no real idea!!

Cheers

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #74 on: 15 May 2017 at 23:14 »
Here's a tip for Sydney-based Fairy hunters. Try the Rectory at Dungog!

Leon


« Last Edit: 15 May 2017 at 23:19 by cardan »

Offline Hutch

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #75 on: 17 May 2017 at 09:13 »
Thanks Leon for the info on RAC H.P. and its use for motorcycles, I've learnt something new!. I looked it up and yes in 1909/1910 the tax based on cylinder bore and number of cylinders etc was introduced to cars but not motorcycles. There was a fixed fee for motorcycles that appears to be 5/- in 1903, rising later to 15/- and then 1 pound by 1910 or so. I have seen some tables of H.P. figures vs capacity in The Motor Cycle in the veteran period and they might have been what was adopted later to set the "arbitrary" capacity vs H.P. rating used by manufacturers? - (more research to do.....)

In the ads in The Motor Cycle I have seen Fairies advertised with 2, 21/2 (the majority), 2 3/4  and 3 H.P. but there appear to be only two actual capacities for the Fairy documented as Leon suggests. Also, there are 2 HP Fairies advertised in UK as well as Australia.

I have not found anything yet that definitely points to a 200cc fairy engine. Maybe the normally very reliable Clew made a typo and later everyone else copied his mistake, especially as they usually quote the bore and stroke but don't check that the capacity actually matches them? Like Leon says, The Best twin appears to be the earliest quote of the "200cc" Fairy.

A possible explanation (which i can't find any proof of so it is pure speculation on my part!) of a 200cc Fairy would be if the original prototype (or Pre "Fee" engine) had for convenience a 2" bore and stroke the capacity would come out at 206cc. But in fact i think Clew made a typo mistake on what I can find so far, as also Leon suggests.

cheers

Ian

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #76 on: 12 Jun 2017 at 05:03 »
Was Barter's Fee the first opposed twin motorcycle?

No. Before Barter there was a beast called the Barry, illustrated below.

At first glance the South-Wales-built 1904 Barry looks like it has four cylinders, but it is in fact an opposed twin, plus a pair of "pumping cylinders" that accept the incoming gases and transfer them into the cylinder at the appropriate time.  Just to complicate matters, the motor was rotary: the crank shaft was fixed to the frame and the entire motor rotated around it. The front belt pulley would be fixed to the crank case. Interesting machine.

Like Barter's early experiments with the Fee, the Barry used a single-throw crank.

Some extra reading: http://www.fairdiesel.co.uk/Redrup.html

Cheers

Leon
« Last Edit: 12 Jun 2017 at 05:28 by cardan »

Offline graeme

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #77 on: 13 Jun 2017 at 00:06 »
Fascinating! I'll bet the engine ran hot without any cooling fins

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #78 on: 13 Jun 2017 at 00:15 »

If it ran at all! I'm not sure how successful it was, but it certainly was different and that's all I ask for in a pioneer machine.

Cheers

Leon

Offline Doug

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #79 on: 13 Jun 2017 at 03:48 »
Leon,

Would the Barry be classified as an opposed twin, or a rotary that just happens to have two opposed cylinders? I thought I might catch you out with 'horizontally opposed twin', but I see you were too careful to include the word 'horizontal'. Whirling around it could be horizontal, vertical, and every angle in between! Given that rotary is a more specific/delimited category than opposed twin, I would have thought it would take precedence in classification.

-Doug

Offline cardan

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Re: Fairy motorcycles and motor sets, in Australia and beyond
« Reply #80 on: 13 Jun 2017 at 05:27 »

Hi Doug,

OK pedant, challenge accepted!  :D

Was Barter's Fee the first motorcycle with a horizontally-opposed engine?

No. In 1897 Jackson Deneal of Toledo, Ohio patented his horizontally-opposed bicycle - US582346.

Just a slight hitch: no spark plugs! In fact the h-o motor was driven by compressed air, that was generated by... pedaling! I reckon we could be pretty certain that the Deneal motor cycle didn't go into production.

So was Barter's Fee the first motorcycle with a horizontally-opposed non-rotary internal-combustion engine?

Mmm... maybe. Watch this space!

Cheers

Leon