Today in Motorcycle History

Dursley Pedersen

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Dursley Pederson was a motorcycle produced in 1903.

The name was originally associated with bicycles based on a special design of frame.

No. 50. 'Dursley Pedersen' bicycle; built for, and ridden for many years by A. W. Rumney, the well-known writer and tourist, by whom it was presented to the Bartleet Collection. A letter from Mr. Rumney accompanies the machine: in this he states that it is the actual bicycle on which he rode to Jerusalem. He also toured on it in France, Italy, Sicily, Spain, Algeria, Portugal, and Scotland. It has a "Pedersen" 3-speed hub, giving gears of 50, 75, and 112.5, and 8-inch cranks. This model is the "Military" pattern, with instantly detachable front forks. Note also Mr. Rumney's ingenious home-made "cape-clip" on the fork-blade. Weight, 321bs.

Mikael Pedersen, the inventor of this extremely ingenious machine, was a Dane. His invention was first submitted to Messrs. Marriott and Cooper, about 1893, and was tested by their manager, Mr. A. M. H. Solomon. The experimental machine was very light. Ultimately it was taken up by R. A. Lister and Co, the well-known engineers, of Dursley, Glos.

The "Pedersen" frame employs the cantilever system, which is well known in all branches of engineering. Examination will reveal that every tubular member, comprising the frame, takes a compression stress only: thus the tubes can be made of very light gauge. In some of the earlier "Pedersens" the frame tubes were soft-soldered into the lugs.

Although they remained the principal product, the company did build a motorcycle in the same form. This had a single-cylinder engine designed by W. J. Barter.

Few of these were sold and W. J. Barter went on to design a flat-twin engine, which eventually evolved into the Douglas make.

Pederson's story is both rich and sad. He lost his way when in his sixties and abandoned his wife and children. A friend found him, destitute, and arranged for him to return to Copenhagen where, a decade later, he died and was buried in an unmarked grave.

Sources: Graces Guide, Wikipedia.

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