Today in Motorcycle History

Day-Leeds Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque
Manufactured by Job Day and Sons, 1912-1915, 1919-1924
Beeston Royds Works, Ellerby Lane, Leeds, Yorkshire

The firm marketed motorcycles under the brands Day-Leeds and Eclipse. These were produced from around 1912 until the beginning of the Great War and were developed by William Henry Day, son of Job Day. The firm was well established and built a variety of machinery for food processing and packaging. Their packaging machines were later exported internationally.

William Henry, who had taken out a patent for a motorcycle engine in 1895, began the firm in 1886 after his father lost an arm in a farming accident, in order to support the family. He was joined by his brother Albert.

In addition to motorcycles they built cyclecars, all powered by their own engines which were somewhat advanced for the day having overhead inlet valves.

The Eclipse was probably very similar to the Day-Leeds, with a 499cc engine, Edlin frame, Druid forks, Bosch magneto, and a compression release. The motorcycles, designed by H. A. Smith, came in direct belt drive or two-speed versions.

The firm built their first cyclecar in 1906, powered by an 804 cc twin-cylinder engine, and by 1912 they had had two factories in Leeds, an office in Clerkenwell Lane, London, and a branch in Cologne.

By 1915 they had produced over a 100 motor cars. After the war the automobile factory moved from Ellerby Lane to the Beeston Royds Works, Leeds. They ceased producing cars in 1926 after building some 300 units, and concentrated on packaging machinery.

Sources: Tragatsch p112; Graces Guide;

N.B. There was an earlier Eclipse made in Birmingham. Eclipse

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