Listed from 1920 to 1923, Maplestone forks were constructed in Great Britain by H. C. Webb and Co.. They were also manufactured by the Firth Bros of Melbourne from about 1914 until the early 1920s.
Some of the advertisements of the day had a kangaroo in the background, giving a strong clue as to their origin.
Norm Maplestone of Coburg, Victoria began developing the fork before the start of the first war, after which he moved to England and became involved with the motorcycle industry there - very closely involved, in fact, for he married the daughter of Frank Baker, with whom he returned to Australia some little while later having sold his fork design to Webb. He then set up a business in Kew (Melbourne) selling Beardmore Precision. Norm was also known for the motorcycle he built pre-war in Australia, The Maple.
Maplestone's girder forks built by Webb went on to become one of the most popular ever made.
No. 11.076.— Arthur Norman Maplestone,
"Spring fork for motor cycles." Prov.
The Herald (Melbourne, Vic.) Wed 4 Feb 1914 (List of Patent Applications)
THOUGH the Maplestone spring fork has not previously been seen on the British market, it would be incorrect to describe it as a new fork, since it has been thoroughly tested on Australian roads for six years past. The features of the Maplestone fork are simplicity and strength, added to which the appearance is neat and the strength of the single compression spring is adjustable. Our illustration, which shows the JMaplestone fork fitted to an old countershaft Triumph, is self explanatory. The spring takes off from a dog leg link just above the mudguard, and at the top bears against a screwed member carried in a stout lug. This screw forms the adjustment for the spring compression.
Simple and Efficient.
Somewhat wider bearings will be fitted to production models, arid provision for a front brake is easily arranged, since the fork moves with the wheel. A short trial on the road convinced us of the excellent shock absorbing qualities of the fork, and, not content with a road test, the machine was driven over a rough section of a common for a distance of about half a mile. Throughout the run the fork behaved admirably, and, despite the fact that the spring had not been adjusted to suit the weight of the rider, only one very severe bump caused the fork to bottom on the guard.
Our conclusions were to the effect that so simple and admirable a fork is bound to enjoy considerable popularity in the near future. Messrs. Maplestone Cantilever Spring Forks, Ltd., of Birmingham, have acquired the sole manufacturers' rights for Great Britain. For the present correspondence should be addressed to the new firm at Precision Gauges, Ltd., Wrentham Street, Birmingham.
The Motor Cycle October 7th, 1920.
Sources: Graces Guide, et al
1. Initially the forks were marketed by Precision Gauges Ltd of Birmingham, who presumably also manufactured them. ~ vintagenorton.com
(Precision Gauges Ltd., Jig & Gauge manufacturers, Wrentham Street, Birmingham.)
If you have further information or a query related to this page, please contact us