BAT Motor Manufacturing Co
of Kingswood Road, Penge, London produced motorcycles from 1901 to 1925.
The marque originated from the name of the founder, Samuel Batson, although early advertisements depicted a cricket bat and the mammal.
1901 After many years as a cyclist, Samuel Batson became interested in motorcycles. From their study he patented many improvements, built a demonstration model and approached manufacturers - with little success.
1902 Batson set up his own business at Kingswood Road, Penge, London to build machines - one of which was soon setting records and ridden by F. W. Chase. The machine was fairly primitive in design, with a De Dion engine. An optional sprung sub-frame was also available. The company was presumably Batson's Patent Syndicate Ltd
1902 December. 'Mr S. R. Batson, who referred to the origin of the "Bat" machine. He first invented a pulley to prevent the belt slipping. He then peregrinated to various parts of the kingdom, and his inability to find a machine suitable to his invention induced him to turn his attention to the making of a bicycle, and with the assistance of his engineer turned out the "Bat" which practically monopolised the motor-cycle records of the day.'
1903 Batson's Patent Syndicate was voluntarily wound up and its business taken on by a new company BAT Motor Manufacturing Co Ltd
1903 Following on from its success the previous year, BAT earned the slogan 'Best After Test'. For that year the engine was from MMC and the machine was fitted with pedals. T. H. Tessier joined the firm and went on to achieve many records riding BAT machines.
1903-09 Made automobiles
1904 A forecar model was produced, powered by a water-cooled engine and some machines had Minerva engines.
1904 The company was put into voluntary liquidation.
1905 Liquidation sale. 'The entire Plant, Stores, Motor Bicycles, and other effects of the above Company, No. 53. Beckenham road, Penge, 8.E., comprising 20 h.p. Stockport gas-engine, 5 h.p. Crossley ditto, 2 dynamos, and 15 screw-cutting and other lathes. 3 milling machines, drilling, slotting. shaping and other machines. enamelling stove. and other fixed and loose tools, about 20 Bat motor-cycles, several motor cycle, trailer forties; and side car frames. tanks, engines, accumulators, coils, carburetters, lamps, contact breakers, and other motor-cycle parts, large stock of tubes, rode, levers, bolts, stampings, castings, and other stores, office furniture, including 3 typewriters and Milner's safe.'
1905 T. H. Tessier bought the company after Batson failed to find a good market.
1907 Tessier entered the the first Isle of Man TT, but retired.
1908 A BAT came second at the TT, in the twin-cylinder class, but that was the best they would ever do on the Island. By now BAT was known for its speed and comfort. It was also successful at Brooklands, as its build suited the track.
1909 The range increased to include a 2.5hp lightweight model and larger singles with mechanically operated inlet-valves, while the twins still had the older aiv type. Also listed were racing versions, sidecar models and a quadricycle - a motorcycle with a removable sidecar and two steering front wheels.
1910 Production problems forced the company to reduce the range to three models.
1912 The concentration was now on twins and a counter-shaft gearbox with kick-starter and clutch in the rear hub had replaced the two-speed P and M gear.
1913 The singles were dropped; the TT model had ohv and the 8hp had all-chain drive. More models appeared and all were V-twins with variations of transmission. Sporting success continued and one of the machines managed to come in seventh in the Senior TT.
1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of motorcycles see the 1917 Red Book
WWI. Some machines were sold to Russia although payment was not always forthcoming.
1917 The company stopped building motorcycles and turned to producing shell cases.
1919-1921 The BAT name returned in 1919, in the form of both 6hp and 8hp V-twin models with three speeds and chain drive. Those machines were constructed from a variety of spares on the store shelf, and a 4hp V-twin appeared in 1921.
1922 The company was taken over by Tessier's sons.
1923 The twin models were joined by a 2.75hp single. The company took over the stock parts and the rights to manufacture of another manufacturer, Martinsyde.
During 1924 Martinsyde's two twins continued under the trading name of BAT-Martinsyde.
1925 Financial problems meant that it was their final year. BAT-Martinsyde ceased production.
National Motorcycle Museum exhibits:-
- 1913 BAT No.2 Light Roadster 770cc
Sources of Information
- The Sportsman - Thursday 18 December 1902
- The Sportsman - Thursday 18 December 1902
- The London Gazette 23 January 1903
- Woolwich Gazette - Friday 07 July 1905
- The British Motorcycle Directory - Over 1,100 Marques from 1888 - by Roy Bacon and Ken Hallworth. Pub: The Crowood Press 2004 ISBN 1 86126 674 X
-  Ian Chadwick's motorcycle web site
- Illustrated Guide to Classic British bikes by Andrew Kemp and Micro De Cet. Published 1997. ISBN 978 1 86147 195 5
- The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle by Peter Henshaw. Published 2007. ISBN 978 1 8401 3967 9
- Motor Cycling and Motoring 1902/12/03