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British Industrial History

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Bown Manufacturing Co

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Bown Manufacturing Co of Snow Hill, Birmingham

Successor to William Bown (1902) Ltd, maker of "Aeolus" ball bearings.

1911 The factory had been established by William Bown and the marque was related to Aeolus, Aberdale and Levis.

1913 According to some sources Bown was associated with Aeolus motorcycles as early as 1913.

Bown were motorcycles produced from 1914 to 1923.

From 1922 to 1924 William Bown assembled small Villiers-powered machines of 147cc capacity, and also 248cc and 348cc JAP and Blackburne powered machines.

1914 The machines were very basic and powered by a 269cc Villiers two-stroke engine with front-mounted magneto ignition. Single or two-speeds were available, both with belt final-drive. Petroil lubrication and Druid forks were used. A 2hp Precision engine was available as an option.

1915 That model continued and then all production ceased.

1921 Late that year four models were produced - two two-strokes and two four-strokes. One of the two-strokes was little changed since before the war, with a 269cc Villiers engine and flywheel magneto. The other, listed as a Bownian, was smaller and simpler. Of the four-strokes, one had a 348cc Blackburne engine driving a three-speed gearbox and the other had a 293cc JAP engine and two speeds.

1922 Only the models with Villiers engines were listed.

1923 Just one model, with a 147cc Villiers engine was available. It was to be Bown's last year.


  • Note: Taken over by Aberdale in the 1930's, Bown is associated with Aberdales from 1946 to 1949 and Levis from 1950 to 1958. From 1950 to 1958 the Bown marque was associated with autocycles of 98cc and 123cc with engines by Villiers, and after 1955 they also built Sachs-powered mopeds.

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