Today in Motorcycle History

Whirlwind Motorcycles

Dorman Engineering Co was situated in Northampton with a factory on the corner of Mayorhold and Broad Streets where they built D.E.C. Engines. The firm was established around 1899 by Thomas Phipps Dorman and used patents held by Horace Walter Dover, who left the company to form his own selling motor and cycling accessories. He was very successful.

The company produced a number of Whirlwind motorcycles machines that were typical of the era. In 1900 they built clipon engines, and later models had belt drive and were of basic construction. By 1902 1¼, 2, and 2¼ h.p. versions were available. A 3 h.p. water-cooled machine appeared in 1903 which was used as a bicycle pacer. It is not clear whether it entered production.

The Whirlwind name was better known in the cycling trade, and many were sold to leading cyclists of the day. Dover was very inventive and later formed Dover Ltd which marketed many of his patents. His wife too was highly regarded and in 1920 was decorated by the King for her services.

53. Dorman Engineering Co., Northampton. This company are showing motor-bicycles of 2, 2¼, and 3 h.p., the engines (own make) being fitted in either the vertical or inclined position as desired by purchaser. Tanks hold sufficient petrol to carry the machine 110 miles ; one lever is for exhaust valve, and the other for advancing spark. Spray carburetters are fitted. The 3 h.p. is water-cooled, and is fixed in vertical position, the water being contained in the front part of the tank with radiating ribs for efficient cooling. A special feature of these machines is that the silencer is carried underneath the bottom bracket, so as to be quite clear of the legs. All machines have triple heads, bottom brackets, and all lugs bring specially strengthened. Prices: 2 h.p. £45 ; 2¼ h.p. £47 5s; 3 h.p. 55 guineas. Complete sets of castings are also on view.

1902 Stanley Show in Motor Cycling, November 26th, 1902. Page 275

Note: W.H. Dorman & Co was a different company based in Stafford. Established in 1870, it produced engines, among many other products. See also under Bradshaw.

Sources: Graces Guide, period literature.

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