Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 149,267 pages of information and 234,239 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Ariel Cycle Co

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Dunlop and Ariel Cycle logos, courtesy of Jeremy P. Mortimore
July 1903.
November 1903.
November 1903.
June 1905.

of Coventry and later of Selly Oak, Birmingham

See also -

1896 Dunlop Cycle Co was formed by Dunlop.

1897 The name was later changed because of conflict of interest in making pneumatic tyres as well as bicycles. The new name chosen for its bicycle producing arm made use of the Ariel trademark, which had been acquired with an earlier acquisition by Dunlop[1]. The result was the Ariel Cycle Co which was registered in November 1897 [2]. Advertising referred to "Ariel late Dunlop"[3]

1897 Cycle Components Manufacturing Co acquired the Ariel Cycle Co. These cycles were ridden to victory in the world's championships of 1897 by J. W. Stocks (professional) and E. Gould (amateur) and paced by Ariel multi-cycles.

1897 Both Dunlop and Ariel Cycles (and other makes) were displayed at a show organised by John Griffiths Cycle Corporation Ltd in Dundee [4].

The Ariel works were later moved to the Dale Road factory under Charles Sangster. Sangster's new marque quickly achieved commercial success, the agency being much sought after by retailers throughout the country and abroad.

1898 J. W. Stocks, after his retirement, wrote "Stocks on Training" which was published by the makers of his bicycles, Ariel Cycle Co[5].

1898 Built the company’s first motorised tricycle. It had a De Dion engine made under licence. After that year only the Ariel marque name was used. More tricycles were produced.

1899 Description of new tricycle.[6]

1899 Ariel Cycle Co replaced the Yerburgh Bowl belonging to the Cheshire Cycling Club, which had been lost from the company's stand at the Agricultural Hall exhibition [7].

1899 W. R. Elderfield is secretary.[8]

1899 S. F. Edge rode an Ariel cycle with De Dion Bouton 2hp engine in the New Brighton trials[9].

1899 J. W. Stocks, of the Ariel Cycle Works, Birmingham, was fined for speeding on a motor tricycle on the Great North Road [10].

1900 At the Automobile Club Trial, the Ariel Tricycle Co Ltd entered an Ariel tricycle, and one with a detachable trailer; the Ariel Cycle Co Ltd entered the Ariel xxard Voiturette; Mr R M Wilson entered an Ariel tricycle from Ariel Cycle Co [11].

1901 the first Ariel motorcycle, fitted with a Minerva engine of 211cc.

1901 Quadricycles were added to the product line in 1901 as the Ariel brand was extended to car production. The first quadricycle had a 2.75hp engine and a water-cooled cylinder head. The retailing of Ariel motorcars was handled by Ariel Motors Ltd of Long Acre, London.

1901 The firm first demonstrated a motorcycle, using a 1.5hp Minerva engine, hung from the frame down-tube, and a car.

1902 Machines went on sale, also fitted with a Kerry engine.

1903 The first Ariel engine was built.

1904 The firm adopted the centre-engine position. They also offered the Liberty cycle attachment as a form of transport. This involved attaching a bicycle to the side of a motorcycle to form a quadricycle and avoid side-slip.

1905-1909 Other models were added, including the tricar. Larger, 6hp V-twin JAP engines were used.

1906 March. Ariel Motors (1906) Ltd was formed to take over Ariel Motors Ltd and to carry on the business of manufacturers of Ariel and Ariel-Simplex cars. Planned to open negotiations with Bruce Peebles and Co for reciprocal working. Directors were: J. F. Albright, Arthur C. Peebles, Gerard B. Elkington, J. E. Hutton and Charles T. B. Sangster [12] [13].

1909 Ariel and Mercury cycles were offered for the 1909 season; produced by Ariel Works, Bournbrook [14].

1932 Components Ltd went into receivership. Production of bicycles ceased [15].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Ariel Motorcycle History [1]
  2. The World guide to automobile manufacturers, by Nick Baldwin, Brian Laban. 1987
  3. [2]
  4. The Dundee Courier and Argus, 29 April 1897
  5. Dundee Courier and Argus, 3 January 1898
  6. The Autocar 1899/02/25
  7. Cheshire Observer, 18 March 1899
  8. The Autocar 1899/04/15
  9. Liverpool Mercury 10 July 1899
  10. Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, 15 October 15, 1899
  11. The Pall Mall Gazette, 15 March 1900
  12. The Times, Friday, Mar 30, 1906
  13. The Times, Monday, Apr 02, 1906
  15. History of Ariel [4]
  • Cycle and Motor Cycle Trader - March 22nd 1935 and December 6th 1940