Butler were motorcycles first designed in 1884 and produced until
1884 The world's first petrol-engined tricycle
was patented by Edward Butler (this was a year ahead of Gottlieb
Daimler in Germany). It had a single rear wheel, a single seat between
the front wheels and a horizontal twin-cylinder engine operating on a Clerk
two-stroke engine with pump compression running at around 100rpm. Its cylinders
went either side of the rear wheel, directly coupled to it by curved connecting
rods. That design was never built.
1888 A revised version, named the Petrol-Cycle ran. It had a four-stroke
engine and a reduction gear to allow it to run at 600rpm. It was water-cooled
with coil ignition and a jet carburettor supplied by a float chamber.
1889 It was first used and called an Inspirator by its designer.
1890-1897 The original design could only carry one person, so a later version
was designed to carry three people - two at the front, between the twin
wheels, and the driver at the rear. This is thought to have been a Bolle
built by Humber and fitted with
the Butler engine. At that time, British legislation was very restrictive
and although the clever design was advanced for the era, its backers moved
on to other fields. The patents were bought by Lawson Co but never progressed
Butler is credited with inventing or developing the spark plug and coil
ignition, magneto and the spray jet carburetor, as well as the word 'petrol'.
His Petrol-Cycle was broken up for scrap in 1896, the few remaining
pictures of this first British motorcycle are in the Science Museum in