Tag Archive: enfield


Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) was founded 1861 by a group of 14 gunsmiths of the Birmingham Small Arms Trade Association. BSA was founded to meet the challenge of Royal Small Arms factory at Enfield who started using machines to manufacture arms more efficiently and cheaply.

With demand for small arms reducing , the small arms business was shut down in 1879. In order to utlise the manufacturing facilities , BSA expanded in to manufacture of bicycles. In 1880 the first Di-cycle was manufactured.

A 1880 BSA Di-cycle

BSA was one of the leading bicycle manufacturer till about 1887, when the demand for small arms peaked again. BSA reverted to manufacture of arms for the military.
BSA experimented with Motor cars in 1907 with a Itala design car which won the 1907 Peking – Paris race.

A 1907 BSA car

In 1908 BSA restarted bicycle production and continued till 1957 , when it was sold to Raleigh cycles. Motorcycles production was started in 1909 and continued till 1973 when it was sold to Norton-VilliersTriumph.
In 1910 , BSA acquired Daimler Motor Company which was in financial difficulty. BSA started using Daimler engines in their cars as well as re-badged the Daimler cars as BSA cars. In 1932, BSA/Daimler acquired Lanchester Motor Company.
BSA was the first company to introduce a mass produced Front wheel drive car in 1929. The car was a 3 wheeler with 2 front wheels and one rear wheel.

A 1930 BSA 3 Wheeled car

Later BSA carried on the Front wheel design to a 4 Wheeled car and can be considered as pioneers in front wheel drive cars.

A 1931 BSA front wheel drive car – TW 5

One of the most famous BSA cars was the BSA Scout.

A 1935 BSA Scout and a 1938 BSA Scout

After the WWII , BSA shifted back to Rear wheel drive cars.

Financial troubles at BSA led to Jaguar Cars acquiring BSA in 1960. In between 1966 and 1968 , they were part of BMC (British Motor Corporation) and BMH (British Motor Holdings). In 1968 BSA/Daimler/Lanchester/Jaguar became part of the reorganised and nationalised British Leyland (BL). In 1984, BSA/Daimler/Lanchester along with Jaguar cars became independent of British Leyland. Ford PAG acquired Jaguar cars in 1989 and later sold it off to Tata Motors in 2007.
In 2016, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd bought the BSA brand and plan to re-introduce the brand in India.

The BSA Logos –

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In 1891 , Albert Eadie (1850 – 1931) and Robert Walker Smith (1857 – 1933) bought out George Townsend and Co which was in the business of manufacturing sewing needles, fishing hooks and bicycles. They renamed the company as Eadie Manufacturing Company.

Apart from the existing business , Eadie Manufacturing was also supplying weapon and rifle parts to Royal Small Arms factory located at Enfield. On receiving a large supply contract from them , Eadie Manufacturing named their bicycle as Enfield, in celebration. In 1892 , they added the “Royal” and thus became Royal Enfield bicycles.
In 1893, the line “Made like a Gun” was added in the company logo. In 1896, a new company – New Enfield Cycle Company was created to concentrate on the bicycle business. In 1897 , the company was renamed as Enfield Cycle Company Ltd.
Enfield was known for designing varieties of bicycle variants and were one of the pioneers in the evolution of bicycles – ladies bicycle, back pedal brakes, sprockets etc.
Some of the early bicycles – a 1895 Eadie Boneshaker and a 1904 Enfield Tandem bicycle.

 

Enfield Cycle Company started experimenting with motorised cycles and in 1898 brought the first motorised Quadracycle with De-Dion engine.
Due to booming business on bicycles, Enfield did not concentrate on motorisation and it was not until 1903 they introduced motorcycles. A 1913 and a 1923 Royal Enfield Motorcycle –
In 1906, Enfield Cycle Company created a separate company to manufacture cars, named as Enfield Autocar Company. In 1907 , Enfield Autocar Company was acquired by Alldays and Onions. From 1919 cars were made under the Enfield-Alldays brand.
Enfield Cycle Company continued to make motorcycles under the Royal Enfield brand and were major suppliers to Military and Army across the world and were major contributors during both the world wars.
In 1932, the legendary “Bullet” was introduced with various engine options.
In 1949, the Indian Army imported the Royal Enfield Bullet as the motorcycle for their use in border patrol and in 1955 Bullet was manufactured in India in collaboration with Madras Motors in Madras (now Chennai). Later on the name was changed to Enfield India as the motorcycle was fully localised.
In 1968, owing to financial troubles, the Enfield Cycle Company was sold to Norton-Villiers-Triumph and the brand disappeared from 1970.
However, the Royal Enfield continued to be manufactured in India as Enfield India. In 1994, Enfield India was acquired by Eicher group. Eicher group repurchased the Royal Enfield brand in 1995 and now is being used in all the Enfield Motorcycles being manufactured in India.
The Logo of Enfield Cycle Company and Royal Enfield –

 

Alldays and Onions Pneumatic Engineering Company was formed in 1889 by the merger of  John C Onions Ltd and William Allday and Sons. These companies were involved in Engineering and blacksmith operations and were founded by John C Onions in 1650 and William Allday in 1720, respectively.

Alldays and Onions expanded in to manufacture of bicyles. In 1898 , Alldays and Onions manufactured their first car called the Traveller, even though it was not sold before 1903. An original 1900 Traveller –

By 1903 , Alldays and Onions were selling cars and also expanded in to Motorcycles. Motorcycles were sold under the Allday-Matchless name and was later renamed as Allon , so as not to confuse with another company by the similar name (Matchless). A 1903 Alldays and Onions Motorcycle –

Alldays and Onions manufactured and sold cars and Motorcycles and were known for their hill climbing ability. They expanded to trucks and tractors also.

In 1908, they acquired the Motor car division of Enfield Cycle Companycalled Enfield Autocar Co. Alldays and Onions brand and the Enfield Brand were kept separately and cars were sold under their own brand names. A 1907 and a 1914 Enfield car –

By 1919 , Alldays and Onions and Enfield Autocar Company were merged to form Enfield-Allday and from then on cars were made under the Enfield-Allday brand. A 1919 Enfield-Allday car –

The Allday and Onions logo –

Enfield – Alldays closed operations in 1925 and the Enfield brand was repurchased by Enfield Cycle Company.