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British Motorcycles

Cygnus Engineering Co

Cygnus were motorcycles produced from 1912 to 1913 at Frodsham, Warrington, Cheshire.
  • It was the name of the company that built the Swan semi-enclosed machines using JAP and Precision engines. Although usually known as Swan, they were sometimes referred to as Cygnus.
  • Swan was a motorcycle produced by them. The company was founded by F. H. Thornton and later changed its name to Swan Motor Manufacturing.
  • Their machine was unusual, with an open frame of light alloy, braced by steel, and an inner alloy frame for the two-speed gearbox. It had a tubular rear-suspension fork, controlled by laminated springs, and Druid forks. It was powered by a 3.5hp JAP engine. The crankcase was concealed, with the top half exposed, and the oil tank went behind the headstock. The petrol tank and chain-driven magneto went under the rider's seat, and it had chain transmission.
  • JAP V-twin and Precision engine were also used but Thornton's father (who had financed the venture), discovered that some employees had been stealing faulty parts and swiftly closed the firm. This therefore brought production to a close in 1913.
Sources: Grace's Guide



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Allen Motorcycle Museum
Allen Motorcycle Museum
Private museum in Boston, MA, with many highly collectable vintage motorcycles for sale.