Star Cycle Co
From Graces Guide
of Stewart Street, Wolverhampton
The range of cycles included the "Path Racer", the "Road Racer", the "Light Roadster", the "Lady's Star", and the "Lady's Popular Star" and a tandem.
1898 Edward Lisle visited Belgium, Paris and Germany in connection with investigating the possibility of going into car manufacture. "The shareholders would notice £300 expended in the motor-car account. That was in the nature of an investment for future trade. They had bought a motor-car and three motors, and at present were taking these as a pattern..."
The car was dismantled at the works and a copy made with improvements. Motor car and motor tricycles were produced in buildings on the opposite side of Stewart Street. The first motocycles were tricycles powered by De Dion engines.
By 1899 had formed Star Motor Co
1899 Production reached 10,000 cycles/year
1902 The firm formed a link with the French company, Griffon, by offering their 2 hp motorcycle import as the Star-Griffon. Typical of the era, it had a vertical engine, belt drive, bicycle frame and rigid forks. The cost was £42.
1902 Advert: Star Motor Co.
1902 the Star Motor Company changed its name to The Star Engineering Company.
1903 The Star-Griffon was now 3hp and priced at £46.
1904 The largest Wolverhampton-based cycle maker
1904 Star Cycle Co exhibited 3 motorcycles at the Stanley Show.
1904 The motorcycle now had a mechanically-operated inlet-valve, braced forks and the option of a free-engine clutch and chain drive. The catalogue for that year also included two trailers which were suitable for use with bicycles or motorcycles. The Star Trailer had a wicker body and was fitted with a comfortable cushion. It had 26-inch plated wheels which were fitted with Warwick or Clipper tyres. The trailer sold for £9. The Star Tradesman's Carrier had a seasoned wood body that was fitted with a lockable hinged zinc top. It had 26-inch enamelled wheels and cushion tyres. The basic trailer sold for £9 and was available with fitted shelves for a small extra charge.
1905 The motorcycles listed were the 3hp and 3.5hp solos, plus a 4hp water-cooled model available as a solo or as a tricar with two speeds.
1905 Four grades of Star Bicycles were offered for the 1905 season. Strong competition developed from German and American bicycle imports from new British motorcycle and car producers.
The company then left the motorcycle business due to inadequate demands and concentrated on cars, presumably (see adverts) as the Star Engineering Co
1905 Star Cycle Co introduced the Starling, 6 hp car but this was soon replaced by an 8 hp model
Introduced the two-cylinder Stuart car which remained in production for three years
1906 Star began to fit their own two-speed hubs to bicycles, produced by the Stuart Hub Co subsidiary. They were initially used on the model "A" and model "B" two speed lady's and gent's machines.
1906 In order to reduce losses the decision was taken to introduce the cheap "Starling" car that would sell through cycle agents for £110. This was the first year that the shareholders received no dividend.
1907 The Stuart hub was replaced by Stanley Two Speed and Three Speed Hubs.
1909 Introduced the 10 hp two-cylinder Royal Starling
1909 The Star Engineering Co, the manufacturer of Star cars, took over its previous parent company, the Star Cycle Co and became a limited company; production of Starlings and Stuarts ceased. The designs and production were taken over by the newly formed Briton Motor Co run by Edward Lisle, Junior.
1912 The cycle catalogue contained several new models - "Modèle De Luxe" Light Roadster and the "Modèle De Luxe" Lady's, as well as the "Superbe" Roadster and the "Superbe" Lady's, at lower prices; also an all-weather machine, the "Special R.I.C. Star"; also the "Tradesman's Star" for butchers, etc.
1912 Star Engineering re-entered the motorcycle business, see Star Engineering Co: Motorcycles but after the outbreak of war in 1914 dropped out again for good.
1915 Company closed. Mr. Harry Jones, who had been a foreman frame-builder at Star, took over the cycle designs and started to produce his own machines at works in Church Lane under the name of Mount Cycles.
Sources of Information
- The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
- Bushbury Electric 
- 1898 Company Report
- The Times, Saturday, Nov 17, 1906