Today in Motorcycle History

Argson Engineering Co

Argson Engineering Company of Beaufort Works, Twickenham, was founded in 1919 by the engineers Arnold Ramsden Garnett and Stanley Orton Needham, from whose initials the name was derived. The firm was initially based at 3, Kendall's Mews, W.l. In 1926 the name was changed to the Stanley Engineering Company, and moved to Egham. The company produced Beaufort motorcycles 1922 to 1925, and built Argson invalid tricycles from 1921 to about 1930.

Following World War I, their main product was a three-wheeled carriage with a 170cc two-stroke engine. For a while they also manufactured a complete lightweight motorcycle, with a two-stroke engine, direct-belt drive and conventional cycle parts, under the Beaufort name. Another version, with a Villiers engine and crankshaft-mounted clutch was also available - but production was sporadic. The machines were typical of the era.

1921 The principal product of this company in its early days was the manufacture of a specially designed and adapted light motor tricyle. This machine was specifically intended for use by invalids who had lost a limb as as result of World War I. There were very many such individuals and so there was a large market for the machines. The tricycle had a single front wheel and the other two fastened to a common rear axle, and driven by the company's own Beaufort 170cc engine. The same engine also appeared in the Beaufort lightweight motorcycle built by Argson. It was also sold to other assemblers of lightweight motorcycles.

1922 The company moved from the West End of London to Twickenham.

1923 A tricycle with an electric motor was added as an option.

1924 A novel flat-twin engine was promoted. It was developed from a 175cc engine built to War Office requirements for a generating set. It was thought to have a use for light motorcycles, but nothing more came of that idea.

1925-c.1930 The invalid tricycle was produced for those few years.

The Argson Runnymede was manufactured in South Africa in the late 30's and early 40's. [1]

In 1954 the business was acquired by Harper Engineering and production moved to Exeter Airport, Devon.

The Olympia Show, 1922

Argson (Stand 32.)

Help for the Disabled.

l¾ H.P. Model.

60x60 mm. (170 c.c); single cyl. two-stroke;: petroil lubrication; Mills carb.; flywheel mag.; single speed gear; gear drive; 26 x 2in. tyres (rear wheels). Price £85.

Argson Eng. Co. Ltd., Richmond Rd., E. Twickenham, Middlesex.

Consisting of an invalid carriage adapted to take a two-stroke engine, instead of being propelled by hand, the Argson is not likely to appeal to the average visitor to the Show, but nevertheless has, unhappily, a very definite place in the present-day scheme of things. , The hand propelling gear is retained, and serves for starting up. Located at the rear, the engine, which is made by the Argson Company, is quite an excellent little design employing a roller bearing big-end. Its crankshaft extends through an enclosed gear reduction case to carry a Villiers flywheel magneto, which, of course, may be used to supply lighting current if required.

No clutch, in the proper sense of the word, is provided, but it is possible to disengage the gears by a lever operation from the driving seat. Carburetter and sparking plug are also accessible to the driver. Two external contracting band brakes are operated simultaneously by one long lever. Speeds from 4 to 25 m.p.h. are claimed.

Also shown is an electric tricycle, from which, it may be noted, a maximum speed of only 6 m.p.h. is obtained, owing to the necessity of conserving current.

Olympia Show 1922
The Motor Cycle, November 30th, 1922. Page 824

Source: Graces Guide

2. Graham Clayton writes in Comments (March 2022), "A detailed webpage about the post WW2 Argson invalid carriage"
3. It has been suggested that there was a connection with Argus of Baden, a German manufacturer of buses. No evidence of this has been found.

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