Author Topic: Excelsior Factory Kings Road Tyseley Brum  (Read 151 times)

Offline R

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Excelsior Factory Kings Road Tyseley Brum
« on: June 01, 2021, 05:53:26 AM »
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excelsior_Motor_Company


With all the recent chit chat about Excelsiors and Waratahs and assorted other imports into Oz,
I thought I'd have a look at a little booklet published on Excelsior motorcycles.
Excelsior the lost pioneer. Liversidge.

https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/2ccaff5b-52ee-40ad-8e99-b9e4bdcecdd1_1.0c3765749aeb8a0d7680e3bd9b2462e8.jpeg

Now this budget priced book doesn't claim to be the complete work, and has a nice potted history of the maker,
with a number of b&w pics of varying quality. Many of them as the advertising posters of their time.

What it doesn't cover is the factory side of things postwar, other than a paragraph stating the state of the ex-factory site,
now a Rovex Business Park.  The factory advertising gives the address as Kings Road Tyseley, but in fact the factory appears to front
onto Hay Hall Rd in Tyseley Brum . (off Kings Road.)
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.4563032,-1.8414406,3a,75y,64.57h,96.85t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s4_tzxbcw0V0UDsj2WEsDiA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

BSA and Britax were involved in the ownership in the final years, getting but a very brief mention.

Anyone got a photo of the factory operating as a motorcycle manufacturer in its heyday ?
Or have any texts on who the management or employees may have been postwar ??
Or former employees memoirs ?





« Last Edit: June 01, 2021, 05:55:59 AM by R »

Offline R

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Re: Excelsior Factory Kings Road Tyseley Brum
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2021, 08:16:34 AM »
Aerial photo, 1950.

Centre/Middle right   The Girling Brake Lining Works (Joseph Lucas Ltd) and environs Tyseley on the Kings Rd
Excelsior factory above/behind that middle right.
Railway yards centre and upper left.
Lower half of picture don't know, big factory complex also.

https://britainfromabove.org.uk/cy/image/EAW029665

« Last Edit: June 01, 2021, 08:18:54 AM by R »

Offline iansoady

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Re: Excelsior Factory Kings Road Tyseley Brum
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2021, 10:19:09 AM »
TI (formerly Reynolds tubes) now occupy part of that site next to the municipal dump. Or did until recently.
Ian
1952 Norton ES2
1955 Francis Barnett Cruiser 75

Offline R

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Re: Excelsior Factory Kings Road Tyseley Brum
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2021, 10:50:16 AM »
Yes Reynolds Tubes also occupied Hay Hall in Redfern St for some years,  just a couple of numbers along.
Strangely, it mentions making tubing for Spitfires, but I don't think that is right.
Tubular frames for some of the bombers maybe ...

Graces Guide gives a bit of a rundown on the Excelsior manufacturing side of things.
Few errors there too, Excelsiors made their own twins, not Villiers at all.
https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Excelsior_Motor_Co

Still no motorcycles and factory pics ...

Offline cardan

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Re: Excelsior Factory Kings Road Tyseley Brum
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2021, 11:54:14 AM »
Sorry, nothing to share about the industrial side of Excelsior.

The Excelsior entry at Graces Guide is good because it mentions the R Walker and Sons era post WW1. Waratah aside, this RW&S era is of interest from the Australian perspective, because RW&S supplied sets of frame lugs - lightweight and heavyweight - which were used by a number of Australian manufacturers in the 1920s. Here in Adelaide, Elliott Bros used the lightweight set for some of its Elliott Villiers machines, and J. N. Taylor used the heavyweight set for some of their heavier Victor machines. My 1921 8 h.p. Victor Blackburne uses the RW&S set: the inside of the engine plates is stamped "R W & S, 6 & 8 JAP, 8 B". The 1921 Excelsior JAP presumably used the same lugs, although the frame on the UK version was longer and chain drive (rather than the belt final drive on the Victor).

I wonder does the Excelsior book talk at all about the sale of frame sets to other manufacturers?

Grace's Guide covers the earlier machines under the Bayliss Thomas entry https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Bayliss,_Thomas_and_Co . A friend has a 650 cc single cylinder sidevalve Excelsior from about 1913 - there was a bigger single at 811cc!

Beyond these things, my only other knowlege of things Excelsior is the role of Australian Alan Bruce in the design and development of the Manxman. He was a very talented engineer.

Cheers

Leon

Offline R

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Re: Excelsior Factory Kings Road Tyseley Brum
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2021, 10:42:05 PM »
I wonder does the Excelsior book talk at all about the sale of frame sets to other manufacturers?

The book is VERY basic in almost all depts.
At $22 delivered, its not claiming to be the be-all-and-end all of everything.
We've added a bit more knowledge even in this thread here.

I wasn't even aware of the frame sets, so thanks for that info.
It adds another piece to the puzzle ...

That means that some Oz suppliers could have had local content/'manufacture'.
How long did that continue, we wonder ...
Waratahs even ??

Offline cardan

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Re: Excelsior Factory Kings Road Tyseley Brum
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2021, 06:33:03 AM »
That means that some Oz suppliers could have had local content/'manufacture'.

Yep, very much so. Sun fittings were used on a much larger scale in Australia than R Walker & Son, and prior to WW1 you could get real Sun motorcycles, Sun motorcycles badged and sold as local product, and local machines assembled from Sun fittings that often looked similar to the "real deal", but likely had locally built tanks, guards, handlebars...

RWS was probably a similar thing on a smaller scale. In 1919, RWS fittings were actively advertised and there was an agent in Sydney - see the advert from the Motor Cycle Overseas Supplement from Nov 1919. The post-war Excelsior Villiers announced in March 1919 was likely built from the RWS set.  Local builders - Elliott Bros in Payneham, South Australia, for example - used the RWS set with a Villiers engine to make their Elliott motorcycle. I'd be pretty sure they brazed up the frame, and used locally-sourced tanks, guards, handlebars etc. The certainly stamped their own frame numbers on the resultant machine. I've not seen the "true Excelsior badged as an Australian make" from this era, but we know that it did happen from 1930 with Waratah.

Frame numbers are often the key. If a Sun-based bike has a Sun frame number, it likely originated as a complete machine in the UK. But a similar machine, with a local frame number, was likely assembled locally from imported fittings. Some surviving Australian frames use fittings from more than one manufacturer.

Back to Excelsior. Grace's Guide had two pages relating to RWS:

https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/R._Walker_and_Sons
https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/R._Walker_and_Son

Not everything there is exactly correct: by the time that "R. Walker & Son, King's Rd, Tyseley, Birmingham" were advertising their frame sets in Nov 1919, Bayliss, Thomas & Co., makers of the Excelsior prewar, had already moved from Coventry to "Excelsior Works, Kings Rd, Tyseley, Birmingham". See the advert announcing the move from Sept 1919.

Presumably this is the factory of interest.

Leon
« Last Edit: June 03, 2021, 06:39:16 AM by cardan »