1942 The company was started by William Leslie 'Smokey' Dawson,
who ran a small motorcycle business and began making rear suspension systems
Leslie Dawson made a number of significant contributions to motorcycle
design. Some of his inventions can be seen in his following patents:
1) The swinging arm Suspension, U.K. Patent 519,291 - 14th October 1939.
To this day this is still fitted to the rear of all motorcycles.
2) Telematic Forks, U.K. Patent 572,548 - 6th May 1943.
3) Dual front wheel brakes, U.K. patent 587,838 - 20th January 1945. This
concept eliminates the dangerous twisting forces, exerted by the single
sided brakes, historically fitted to motorcycles.
Before the Second World War the company had been briefly linked to the
name, as they were already in the motorcycle business.
1950 Production began when their Valley Road Works was located in Sedgley,
Worcestershire. Throughout their years of production, they used mainly
engines. The first range had the options of 99cc 1F, 122cc 10D
or 197cc 6E units and all had MP
telescopic forks, also produced by the firm. Plunger rear-suspension was
an option on the two larger models.
1951 Two De Luxe models were added to the range. These had square-section
tubing frames. After that year the 99cc model was dropped.
1952 A 197cc Competition model was added and from then on both round
and square tubing was used for the frames. In later years, sheet steel
was also used.
1953 The market was surprised by the introduction of 125cc and 170cc ohv
units from AMC.
These were French engines from Ateliers de Mecanique du Centre and
not from the British company based at Plumstead. Then followed two further
models - a 249cc ohc version and a 125cc dohc racing model known as the
This French connection did not last long and DMW had soon produced
a range of two-strokes that included not only the road machines, but scrambles
and trials models as well. The 147cc 29C engine Leda and
the 224cc 1H engine Cortina were also added. Competition
models became less like road bikes and more purprose-built.
1957 The 99cc 4F engine Bambi scooter appeared, with its
monocoque frame that was also the body. The 249cc 2T engine Dolomite
road model also arrived.
1958 The 249cc 2T twin engine, used in the Dolomite was fitted
to a scrambles model.
1959 A larger, 246cc 32A engine was used for trials and the 33A
engine for scrambles models. A 324cc 3T version of the Dolomite
was also added.
1960 The Bambi was dropped.
1961 The new 249cc 2T engine Deemster was launched. It combined
scooter with motorcycle; weather protection with good handling. The rest
of the range continued.
1962 After many improvements to the range, rationalization occurred when
took over Ambassador.
1963 A new competition model was launched. This was the Hornet road
racer with a 247cc Starmaker engine. Later on, the firm built a
500cc twin using two of these engines, but that was strictly for themselves
1966 The range shrank and the Deemster was built using a 247cc Velocette
flat-twin, two-stroke engine, as well as the usual 2T.
1967 Only the Hornet racer and the Highland Trials models, using a Cotton
frame and a 37A engine were produced. Although they continued to make parts and the occasional trials machine, the company
effectively ceased trading.
Note: Around 1971 they bought the jigs from Villiers
to produce spare parts for Villiers
engines, and stopped producing their bikes]] and scooters so, for a short
time during the late 1970s, the company produced some Villiers-type
246cc engines. These were supplied to Cotton
and Dot, but it was short-lived.