Author Topic: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox  (Read 10896 times)

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Offline cardan

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Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« on: 19 Feb 2013 at 08:37 »

Hi all,

I'm far from home, have forgotten the cable that links the camera to the computer and for some reason I can't read the memory card... going well. So rather than a simply ID, I'm asking for an ID without you being able to see the item in question! Sorry in advance.

The gearbox is stamped on the back vertical face 8 then underneath 3421. Cases are split vertically (like a usual 2 speeder), and both halves are stamped with the same number. There is a clutch on the output belt pulley. There is an extension out the front for a kick starter. I believe it has 2 speeds, and the selector shaft comes through the top, with half the hole in each half of the case, just like the usual arrangement. The underneath of the box is smooth - it's not S1.

Here's the strange bit. Instead of two two mounting studs on top there are four - not particularly wide apart (maybe 1 1/2") and at either end of the box.

No machined bits to fit into frame tubes, or anything like that.

So what early Douglas 2-speed box used 4-bolt mounting?

Thanks in advance - I'll try to post pics tomorrow (I have a plan!)

Leon


Offline cardan

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #1 on: 25 Feb 2013 at 08:57 »
Some photos. Note the "1" and "2" stamped into the cases above the shafts. Can anyone tell me what it is?

Thanks

Leon









« Last Edit: 24 May 2013 at 20:37 by Dave »

Offline cardan

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #2 on: 26 Feb 2013 at 19:49 »

Perhaps it's not Douglas? I had a look at Williamson, but it doesn't seem to be that. Any ideas at all?

Leon

Offline Doug

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #3 on: 26 Feb 2013 at 23:14 »
Leon,

Really does not have that 'Douglas' look to it. Too robust!

Doug

Offline cardan

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #4 on: 27 Feb 2013 at 00:56 »

Thanks Doug. Looks like it isn't Douglas - if it is I have no idea what model it could have come from. The trouble is that it is quite "Douglassy" - sitting with a (genuine!) veteran Douglas two-speeder with clutch it looks quite at home.

If not Douglas, we'll have to go with "inspired by Douglas" and I'll start looking elsewhere for an ID because it's a nice box.

Thanks

Leon


Offline Hutch

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #5 on: 19 Mar 2013 at 07:38 »
Hi Leon,

Attached are some photos of a gearbox in a friend of mine's shed. This one looks a little bit more complete than the one you found. He says that it came in a pile of Douglas stuff, but other than that has not been able to identify it ! I have chased some leads, but so far drawn a blank. If I fine anything I'll let you know.

Cheers

Ian





« Last Edit: 24 May 2013 at 20:45 by Dave »

Offline cardan

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #6 on: 19 Mar 2013 at 09:41 »

Hi Ian,

Fascinating! I've spent hours looking through old magazines etc. and have come up with nothing so far. It will probably turn out to be something relatively common: not Douglas, but Douglasy enough to finish up in piles of Douglas bits! There were some German/European "Douglas copies" - the predecessor to the BMW (and the first BMW I recall) and probably others...

Cheers

Leon

Offline oil baron

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #7 on: 19 Mar 2013 at 21:19 »
I had a thought, the two speed is not forward & reverse is it. It appears to have been fitted for some sort of kickstarter or starting device.  I was wondering if  these gearboxes were possibly off a Douglas Industrial truck, of the type that used a modified 600 EW engine and is shown in Jeff Clew's Book (in my edition page 181). It certainly looks very like a Douglas made item but I cannot think of any bike that it would fit, but the Industrial Truck is a possible option.  May be somebody can provide more information on these Industrial Trucks which might solve where these gearboxes come from.
Regards  SteveL
Steve L

Offline cardan

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #8 on: 19 Mar 2013 at 22:25 »
Hi Steve,
Good thought, but as there are two shafts only I think we're talking two forward speeds.
Yes it has a kick starter, and a clutch in the output v-belt pulley, so the fist guess would have to be motorcycle. I spent a couple more hours last night (because it was fun!) looking through different possibilities (including Helios and Victoria, the predecessors to BMW, which were quite Douglas-like, and various other flat twins) without coming up with anything.
Could Douglas have made it for someone else? I've checked Williamson and it doesn't looks like the ones I've seen.
Puzzled,
Leon

By the way, I assume we're looking at something either Pre-WW1, or just after? Open kick start, clutch in pulley would seem to be pre-mid-1920s.

Offline oil baron

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #9 on: 20 Mar 2013 at 00:33 »
Hi All

The box certainly looks a lot heavier than my 1914 3 1/2 hp box, but particularly in the area of pulley and clutch housing.  The clutch operating gear on the second of the 2 boxes certainly looks like it does no belong on a motorcycle more like an agricultural machine. May be a lead worth following up, after all Douglas we involved with the Bristol Tractor Company for a while. May be they also made cultivators or something similar that used 2 speed gearboxes supplied by Douglas.  Lets face Douglas had plenty of practice making 2 speed boxes!
Regards   SteveL
Steve L

Offline Doug

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #10 on: 20 Mar 2013 at 03:27 »
Leon,

Why does it need to be an opposed twin; just because it looks Douglas-ish? There can not have been too many exotic Willaimson, Victoria, and Helios motorcycles shipped to Australia. You ought to be looking at some more common large v-twin or heavy single belt-drive veterans exported to or assembled in AU for a possible match. Particularly with another seemingly identical example turning up.

-Doug

Offline cardan

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #11 on: 20 Mar 2013 at 06:01 »

Yeah... I looked at ordinary things last time!
Actually the box is not particularly large - more Douglas size. Yes there are two surviving gear boxes, and high serial numbers, but I can't think of a common bike that would use a box like this. The narrow 4-bolt top mount is unusual, and would require a rather unusual frame. Maybe Steve is right and the rather agricultural clutch actuator points to something other than motorcycle?

Leon

Offline Hutch

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #12 on: 20 Mar 2013 at 06:16 »
Hi Leon,

I did look down the BMW M2B15 engine path as it appears BMW did make a 2 speed gearbox to go with it. Like you I drew a blank.

One small piece of information I omitted in my post. The current owner on the gearbox had written on it "Bowden" or maybe "Bowman" and less likely "Burman" on it in permanent marker over 10 years ago. It was onto a greasy surface so has not weathered well and is almost unreadable - but is 6 letters and starts with "B" and ends with "N". Unfortunately he cannot remember the line of inquiry he took to come up with this, but it would have most likely not involved the internet!. Based on this info. i have done some searching on the web and come up with very little so far. I do understand tho' that Bowden did make gearboxes tho'.

I have asked my friend to measure the box and find out if it is Imperial or metric as that may be a clue - will keep you posted.

Cheers

Ian

Offline cardan

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #13 on: 20 Mar 2013 at 08:53 »

Hi Ian,

Unfortunately I'm familiar with both Bowden and Burman gearboxes, and these boxes are not from either of those makers...

I'm not sure if Douglas owners have noticed, but the usual Douglas layout of primary drive on the opposite side to the final drive (i.e. a "cross-over" gearbox) is not the usual way of doing it. Of reasonable sized manufacturers, Sunbeam and Douglas were probably the two largest to use cross-over boxes. (Triumph dabbled in the layout in the mid 1920s.) Sunbeam and Douglas weren't big, but they did build some very fast bikes - interesting that both Sunbeam and Douglas "specials" tended to use gearboxes with final drive on the same side as the primary. With cross over drive, the primary drive pulls forwards on one side, and the final drive pulls back on the other, both twisting the gearbox in the same direction around its mount. The big makers of gearboxes in the early days (Sturmey Archer, Burman, Albion, Jardine, Moss, ...) rarely used the cross-over format.

The two boxes here have some amazing similarities with early Douglas boxes: cross over drive, vertically split cases, two speed, vertical selector shaft on the "split line" of the case, clutch in the final drive pulley, kick starter shaft carried on an extension of the cases, ... If it weren't for these similarities I suspect the Administrators would have booted us into "The Kingswood Pub" a few posts back!

Cheers

Leon

Offline Hutch

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #14 on: 21 Mar 2013 at 07:45 »
Hi Leon,

Feedback from my friend indicates that the box he has appears to be metric  !! He didn't believe it so he measured a few things to make sure. If this is correct then I'm back onto the continental European manufacture path....I do agree tho' that there appears to be a Douglas connection somewhere !

He measured the two mounting studs and they came out as 10mm with a 1.5mm pitch. One of them has a 3mm hole drilled through it into the box so presumably is the filler/vent. You might just be able to see it in the photo, but looks like it is gummed up with something. He said that this feature is a neat solution and I would agree.

The "Bowden" he wrote on it may have been a furphy.....(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furphy). He normally puts a "?" on it if he wasn't sure, but that had probably worn off over the years!!

Will try and confirm the metric measurements next time I'm at his shed (not that I don't trust him :) !).

Cheers

Ian

Offline cardan

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #15 on: 22 Feb 2016 at 08:51 »

Believe it or not, these gearboxes are from 2 3/4 h.p. French "Soyer" motorcycles of the 1920s. Very strange.

Leon

Offline Hutch

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #16 on: 23 Feb 2016 at 03:26 »
Well done Leon !!!! I had completely forgotten about this :-). I have not found a good picture of the box on a early 20's Soyer yet. this is the best I can find so far. Looks very promising. This is a 1922 model. Fairly sturdy gearbox for a 250cc two stroke?? I have passed the info on to my friend and he said "thanks!!". Now the real mystery is how the gearboxes found their way into two independent piles of Douglas stuff!

cheers

Ian

Offline cardan

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #17 on: 23 Feb 2016 at 04:38 »
Yep, that's it.

I've emailed you and Thomas, the Soyer man in Germany who is looking for a gearbox for his bike. Hopefully the gearbox can head off to somewhere where it could be used!? The one I have is missing bits.

Thomas was advertising for a Soyer gear box - with a picture - on a French website. http://www.motocollection.com/annonces/liste.lasso  He was a bit surprised that I told hime there were at least two in Australia.

There is a lesson for everyone searching for unusual parts. Find a photo of the part your want, and use it in your wanted advert. Often someone might have the part you are looking for, but have no idea that they have it.

Cheers

Leon

[Edit: If you don't speak French, follow the link, tick the "sauf japonaises" (without Japanese) box, then click the blue "cherchez les plus recentes en premier" button (most recent first).
« Last Edit: 23 Feb 2016 at 04:44 by cardan »

Offline oil baron

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Re: Help to identify a veteran? Douglas gearbox
« Reply #18 on: 25 Feb 2016 at 01:13 »
Hi Leon

What a great end result,  I had not even heard of a Soyer. I bet the gearboxes only survived in Aussie because they were so similar looking to the Douglas 2 speeder gearbox, people assumed they were Douglas so hung on to them.  It would be interesting to find out how many Soyer's made it to Aussie in the first place.  It proves the internet forums have greatly enhanced our hobby, though some people think it is  more of an obsession.

Great Stuff
Steve L
Steve L