Today in Motorcycle History

Dennis Brothers

John and Raymond Dennis produced a motorcycle in 1898, in Guildford, Surrey.

The Dennis company, one of only a handful not based in Midlands, built a few tricycles in the De Dion mould. They had a single front wheel, twin rear wheels, and a rear axle driven directly from the engine which was situated behind the rider.

The engine was supplied by De Dion-Bouton, and the machine had brakes on each rear wheel - an unusual feature at the time - and a central band brake. The brakes were controlled by handlebar fittings on the left and right via rods and cranks.

The Dennis "Speed King" was one of the most advanced of the day. A magnificent example is on display at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham.

1905 Dennis produced their first bus.

All passenger-carrying vehicles were based on goods chassis until 1925.

1909 Dennis Brothers fitted White and Poppe petrol engines and later bought the company.

1921 Dennis designed a four-ton chassis.

1927 Forward-control double-deckers first appeared with the H-type.

1930 The Dart was invented as a normal-control chassis with six-cylinder engine and servo-brakes. This became the standard small bus with LGOC.

By 1950 Dennis designed the Dominant model. It featured a 0.6 engine, a turbocharger and Hobbs automatic transmission.

1952 Lancet was launched with an underfloor engine. It was much lighter and was successful in bus and coach use.

1956 The Pelican was introduced. It used components from the Falco.

1958 The forward-entrance Loline II came.

1960 Improvements were made to the Loline III; this model was 30ft long with a forward-entrance.

1961 Employed 1,300 persons. Commercial vehicle manufacturers specialising in motor fire engines, motor coaches, omnibuses and municipal vehicles.

1967 The last of the Loline models were built.

1971 Dennis took ownership of the Hestair Group.

During the 1970s, a double-decker 'the Dominator' was made.

A single-decker version of 'the Dominator' followed.

South Yorkshire Transport took the Dominator as its standard bus.

1980 A purpose-built single-decker chassis was developed - the Falcon.

By the 1990s the model of the Dominator could not keep up with Leyland, Volvo, and Olympian.

1996 London and Country bought the last Dominators from Dennis.

1997 Dennis introduced the Trident, their first low floor double-decker, the three axle for export only.

Source: Graces Guide dennis-brothers.htm

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