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British Industrial History

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Bayliss, Thomas and Co

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1881. Excelsior tricycle.
1881. Excelsior tricycle.
1883. Excelsior. Chainless drive.
1883. Excelsior. Chainless drive.
1902. Excelsior motorcycle. Exhibit at the National Motorcycle Museum.
1902. Excelsior motorcycle. Exhibit at the National Motorcycle Museum.
August 1902.
November 1902. Excelsior motorcycles.
December 1902.
1902. Excelsior.
1902. Excelsior.
1903. Excelsior motorcycle 211cc. Exhibit at the National Motorcycle Museum.
1903. Excelsior motorcycle 211cc. Exhibit at the National Motorcycle Museum.
February 1903.
February 1903.
July 1903.
November 1903. Excelsior Fore-Carriage.
November 1903. Excelsior Fore-Carriage.
March 1904.
May 1904.
November 1922.
November 1922.
November 1922.
June 1923.
October 1923.
October 1923.
October 1923. Models, prices and specifications.
October 1923. Models, prices and specifications.
October 1923. Models, prices and specifications.

of Excelsior Works, Coventry, cycle and motorcycle manufacturers

of King's Road, Tyseley, Birmingham (1919/1920).

1874 Company established by John Thomas, Thomas Bayliss and John Slaughter as Bayliss, Thomas and Slaughter as a cycle manufacturer, using the brand name Excelsior. Initially premises at 287-295 Stoney Stanton Road, Hillfields, Coventry, Warwickshire, and were one of the earliest manufacturers of Penny-Farthing bicycles. Building 'Ordinary' cycles at works in Earl Street and Much Park Street, Coventry.

1878 Producing 2,000 cycles per year

1880 Patent for improvements to tricycles and other velocipedes. The company is John Thomas, Thomas Bayliss and John Slaughter trading as Thomas Bayliss and Co [1]

By 1882 the company name had changed to Bayliss, Thomas and Co although Slaughter remained a director of the business

1883 Tricycle with enclosed front exhibited at the 6th Stanley Show [2].

1894 Exhibited cycles at the Antwerp Exhibition (Bayliss, Thomas and Co). [3]

1896 July. Became a public company at £65,000. Directors are Baron Rose, Thomas Inger Stevens, Thomas Bayliss, John Slaughter and John Thomas.[4]

1896 The firm started to produce powered machines and, during an exhibition at the Crystal Palace, demonstrated a motorcycle fitted with 1.25hp Minerva engine. Approximately 250 people tried it out without mishap.

1896/7 Directory: Listed as Bayliss, Thomas and Co under cycles. More details. [5]

1896 Started experimenting with motorised cycles powered by the 2.75 hp MMC engine. Motorcycles produced under the Excelsior brand.

1900 The firm started using the MMC engine, with belt drive, hung from the down-tube.

1902 Exhibited forty Excelsior motorcycles at Olympia

1904 Excelsior tricar.

1904 Several motorcycle models were now in production and some had water cooling.

1905 Under the direction of William H. Carson, the company developed tri-cars

c.1905 Trade was poor, so motorcycle production ceased.

1909 Returned to the market with one motorcycle model. This had a 3.5hp Excelsior engine, gear-driven Bosch magneto, Druid forks and twin fuel tanks.

When the company entered the car business, used the name Bayliss-Thomas as there was already a Belgian car called the Excelsior. The prototypes had three wheels and air-cooled engines, but production vehicles were conventional 9-13 hp four wheelers and around 1000 were made.

1912 Spennell's lists them at Excelsior Works, Stoney Stanton Rd (Tel. 497), Coventry. [6]

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of motorcycles see the 1917 Red Book

1914 Cycle and Motor Cycle Manufacturers. [7]

1920 A much wider range of models was introduced.

1919/20 The company was taken over by R. Walker and Sons and moved to King's Road, Tyseley, Birmingham

1920 Maker of cars under Bayliss-Thomas brand. Motorcycles made and sold as Excelsior Motor Co.

1922 Advert: Bayliss-Thomas cars sold by Westminster Bridge Garage and Engineering Co.

1928 Bayliss Thomas chassis were still being assembled in Australia [8].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Birmingham Daily Post, Friday, May 21, 1880
  2. The Times, 30 January 1883
  3. The Engineer of 25th May 1894 p431
  4. Coventry Evening Telegraph - Saturday 25 July 1896
  5. Peck's Trades Directory of Birmingham, 1896-97: Cycles
  6. Spennell's Annual Directory of Coventry and District, 1912-13
  7. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  8. The Times, 29 May 1928