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British Industrial History

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William Beardmore and Co: Motorcycles

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1922. Beardmore-Precision. Exhibit at Glasgow Museum of Transport.

Note: This is a sub-section of William Beardmore and Co.

Beardmore Precision were motorcycles produced from 1920 to 1925.

The name evolved from an association between Precision engines and the William Beardmore engineering group. F. E. Baker of Moorsom Street and then Kings Norton, Birmingham, had originally developed an advanced machine during World War I, using its own Precision engine. Production of a complete machine was difficult - hence the involvement with Beardmores.

1920 The association of the two firms produced the first Beardmore Precision model. Based on a conventional two-stroke, it had a pumped lubrication system in which the magneto drive-chain doubled as an oil conveyor. The gearing had sprockets at either end of the crankshaft and selection was via expanding clutches from a handlebar control. The engine and gear were a complete unit, cased in aluminium. This unconventional yet practical design also had large alloy foot-boards swept upwards at the front edges to become leg shields. The 349cc engine lacked power and, combined with its odd looks, the machine did not sell well.

1921 A sports version was tried, followed by a 598cc sv model with an in-unit three-speed gearbox, with Sturmey-Archer shafts and pinions. This cured the problem of missing power, but did nothing to improve appearance. A sleeve-valve 348cc engine from Barr and Stroud then appeared. This had a three-speed gearbox and a choice of drive.

1922 A team of three machines with new 496cc engines was entered in the Senior TT, but they all retired. Revised and improved models were exhibited at the motorcycle show, including a 348cc sv with two-speed chain-cum-belt transmission.

1923 A sports version appeared, with Ricardo aluminium piston. That was followed by a 246cc sv machine with a tubular, triangulated frame which was an improvement on its previously strange appearance.

1924 Several models continued into this year. Frank Baker severed his connections with the company and two experimental racing models entered the TT, without success.

1925 An ohv 250cc, with coil valve-springs, was added to the range. It was the final year of the marque.

National Motorcycle Museum exhibits:-

  • 1924 Beardmore Precision Model C 598cc

The Werry.
The Werry.
The Werry.

The Werry was a motorcycle produced in 1927. The engine was designed by an Australian named W. C. Werry; it was built by William Beardmore and Co of Glasgow.

This machine was a one-off built up as a test bed for an unusual flat-twin two-stroke engine, set along the frame. It was based on the uniflow principle, where the two pistons faced one another in a common cylinder with a crankshaft and crankcase for each at the outer cylinder rods. The cranks were linked so as to rotate in unison and the Werry did this by each driving a primary chain to a special clutch with two sprockets, one chain much longer than the other. The engine was 248cc and the rear crankcase drove up to a Lucas magneto, while the front one drove a Pilgrim oil pump. That motor, and a Sturmey-Archer gearbox were fitted into Chater-Lea cycle parts. It is reported that the machine attempted to break one of the 250cc world records at Brooklands, in some style, but that it crashed at about 90mph/145kmh.

It was rebuilt many years later as an example of innovative, although not unique, design.

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