Today in Motorcycle History

Dayton Motorcycles of London

Dayton Cycle Co built motorcycles from 1913 to 1922, then Chas. Day restarted production at Shoreditch, London in 1939. Postwar, from 1955 to 1960, they built scooters in North Acton, London.

1913 A lightweight was produced with a 1½ hp, 162cc two-stroke Stellar engine fitted with an Amac carburettor. It had a chain-driven magneto, petroil lubrication, transmission by a chain-driven two-speed gearbox and either Druid or Saxon forks. There was also a single speed model.

1915 The range continued and a ladies' model was offered. War brought production to a close.

1920 The marque reappeared with a simple lightweight fitted with a 269cc Villiers engine. It had a cylindrical, tapered fuel-tank hung from the top tube. There was also mention of a motorised bath-chair with a 161cc two-stroke engine steered by tiller control, that had first been seen the previous year.

1921 The firm showed the lightweight at Olympia, plus a three-wheeled, single-seat machine with a 4hp Blackburne engine, three speeds and wheel steering. Dayton at the 1921 Olympia Show

Little information is available for the intervening years.

1939 Having been already established in the production of bicycles, the firm, now based in North Acton, London, returned to motorcycles. They produced an autocycle powered by a 98cc Villiers engine. Typical of its type, it was only listed for that year, which saw the start of World War II.

Post War. The company returned to making bicycles for several years.

1955 onwards. The company entered the scooter market and introduced a model named Albatross. Powered by a 224cc Villiers 1H engine, it did not sell particularly well in comparison with the popular Italian machines. This was mainly due to its size, weight, name and design. Other versions were added, fitted with Villiers engines of various capacities. The final model was the Flamenco.

1960 Production ceased after that year.


Engine -1 1/2 h.p. two-stroke, 57 x 63.5 mm., 162 c.c.
Iqnition - U.H. magneto, chain-driven.
Carburetter - Amac.
Change Speed - Two-speed gear box, gears 6 and 13 to 1.
Transmission - Belt and chain.
Dimensions - Height of saddle from ground, 30in. Ground clearance, 3 3/4 in. Wheelbase, 52in.
Lubrication - Oil mixed with petrol.
Other Features - Druid or Saxon spring forks.
Price - 23 guineas. Single-speed, 23 guineas. Popular model, 20 guineas.

Chas. Day Mfg. co., LTD., 221-2, High Street, Shoreditch, E.

British Lightweights, 1914


Particulars of the Dayton machines arrived too late to be included in the "Buyers' Guide." They consist of the following : A 1½ h.p. two-stroke, 57x63.5 mm. bore and stroke, 162 c.c, fitted with Amac carburetter and 26in. x 2in. tyres, £24 3s.; a lady's machine similar to the above with variable gear, £30; and a 2½ h.p. machine, 70x70 mm. bore and stroke, 269 c.c, Senspray carburetter, at £26 5s. The U.H. magneto is fitted to all models.

The Motor Cycle, November 26th, 1914. p599

Dayton 1920

The Dayton invalid's motor tricycle has tiller steering and is driven by belt to the near side front wheel.

Olympia Show 1920

Dayton. (Stand 48.)

  • 1¾ h.p.; 57x65.5 mm. (161 c.c): single-cylinder two-stroke; hand pump lubrication; Amac carburetter; Fellowes chain-driven magneto; single-speed gear; chain and belt drive; 25x2 in. tyres.

The Charles Dayton Mfg. Co., 221, High Street, Shoreditch, London.

In view of the number of men who are permanent invalids as a result of the war, it is interesting to see that the Dayton motor bath chair is now on the market as a production model after its initial essay last year. A small two-stroke engine is placed at the rear of the frame and drives a countershaft by a chain, the countershaft containing a clutch. From the countershaft the belt is taken to a rim on the near side front wheel, which is the only one through which power is transmitted. There is a free-wheel sprocket connected by a chain to a long lever on the left of the driver who can, by this means, easily start the engine. The single rear wheel steers, being connected to a tiller, on which also is the single throttle lever, the decompressor control, and the clutch control.

One brake acts on a front wheel, the other on the rear wheel, both being contracting bands. On the all-weather model the footboards are closed in, and a cape hood can be fitted, but on the second model separate small footplates are used, and can be set in one of several different positions.

Olympia Show, 1920

The Motor Cycle, December 2nd, 1920. Page 723

Report on the 1921 Olympia Show

For the first time since the war the Chas. Day Mfg. Co., Ltd., will be showing a motor bicycle. The new Dayton is a lightweight driven by the 2½ h.p. Villiers engine with magneto flywheel, mounted in a frame of all steel construction, in which is incorporated a substantially webbed head lug and a further webbed lug on the saddle tube, to which is bolted the pressed steel tank.

Lubrication is effected by air pressure through a drip feed. Both brakes controlled by heel-operated pedals mounted one on each footrest are applied to the outer side of the belt rim.

The Dayton motor bicycle will be shown in three types - single geared, with clutch, and with Sturmey-Archer two-speed gear and kick-starter. Another interesting feature of the exhibit will be a three-wheeled single-seater driven by a 4 h.p.

November 24th, 1921. The Motor Cycle

Sources: Graces Guide, The Motor Cycle.

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