Today in Motorcycle History

John Birch

George Eliot was a motorcycle produced circa 1904 by John Birch.

Machines were built to his design with the crankcase cast around the frame tubes. This design was also licensed to Bradbury. In every other respect the machine was a typical primitive of the period.


Birch were motorcycles produced from 1902 to 1904.

The designer, J. J. Birch, was one of the partners of Perks and Birch who produced the motor wheel that would be used by Singer at a later date. He was also known to have produced a very basic motorcycle, which had the crankcase and bottom bracket as part of the main frame. The engines were manufactured in several sizes: 2hp, 2½ hp and 3½ hp. The design was also built under licence, by Bradbury.

Report from the Stanley Show 1902

Stand 32 (ARCADE).

J. N. Birch, Nuneaton, shows two motor-bicycles, one fitted with Simms' Magneto in conjunction with Birch's advance sparking apparatus. This machine is constructed with Birch's patent combined crank chamber and bottom bracket built in the frame; surface carburetter, belt drive, Birch's disc hubs, and compound brake. The other has a surface carburetter, wipe contact, accumulator, trembler coil, and self-compensating contact.

Motor Cycling, 26th November 1902

Source: Graces Guide

March 2022

Graham Clayton writes in Comments, "Birch was acquainted with the writer Mary Ann Evans who published under the pen name/pseudonym George Eliot, which explains how the machine was named."

"... her remarkable transformation from provincial girl — she was born Mary Ann Evans, the daughter of a land agent, in Coventry in 1819 — to one of the preëminent intellectuals of the nineteenth century, and the author of "Middlemarch," widely considered the greatest novel in the English language." ~ The New Yorker, Sept 2013