Motosacoche was founded in 1899, by Henri and Armand Dufaux, in Geneva, Switzerland.
Motosacoche was once the largest Swiss motorcycle manufacturer, known also for its MAG (Motosacoche Acacias Geneve) engines which were used by many British and European motorcycle manufacturers. At the height of their powers they had factories in Switzerland, France and Italy, as well as substantial representation in the British Isles.
From 1900 the company produced a bicycle auxiliary engine which were supplied with a sub-frame that could be installed into a conventional bicycle. This looked like an engine in a bag, hence the Motosacoche name which translates as meaning "engine in a satchel".
The Dufaux brothers set up a subsidiary firm to market their machines in the UK, and this led to collaboration with Royal Enfield, who supplied most of the components to build a complete machine using a Motosacoche 344 cc 2.75 hp V-twin engine. Royal Enfield, in 1910, released effectively the same machine, and the two marques built all but identical V-twins for several years until Motosacoche left the motorcycle market to concentrate on their MAG (Motosacoche Acacias Geneve) engines, which by this time were doing exceptionally well. These were supplied first through H. and A. Dufaux and then, by 1912, Motosacoche Ltd (GB), with Osborne Louis de Lissa of Australia at the helm.
Stand No. 67.
The Motosacoche was one of the first light-weight machines to be introduced in this country. The chief alteration in the 1909 model is a loop frame which brings the engine 2in. lower than formerly. The frame is also strengthened by a diagonal stay close up against the steering pillar. Most models are now fitted with the lightweight Bosch magneto, which is driven in a particularly neat and efficient manner by means of a worm, the worm wheel being formed on one of the flywheels. In models two valve pumps provided, one the injection of oil into the crank chamber and the other for sending a dose of paraffin into the cylinder so as to make the starting easy. The... model seen on this stand is the Motosacoche lady's machine in which the engine is carried vertically on the frame. This engine is fitted with mechanically-operated inlet valves and magneto ignition. The dimensions of the single-cylinder engine are 52 by 72, and those of the twin are 62 by 70 mm.
H. and A. Dufaux (England), Ltd.
65 Holborn Viaduct, E.G. Stand No. 67.
This exhibit consists entirely of the "Motosacoche" machine. These are shown in two models, one with the engine carried in the usual place, high up in the frame, and one (the ladies') with the engine placed much lower. There are several complete machines of the former pattern and various components. The engine and so forth are shown separate. The standard machine with magneto ignition retails at £33 or £30 with accumulator, and the ladies' model at £42. There is a new model two-cylinder 21/4 H.P. at. £46.
When the Bol d'Or 24-hour event was first held on the outskirts of Paris in 1922, the winning rider covered more than 750 miles on a 500cc Motosacoche.
There is a detailed history of Motosacoche in the UK written by Osborne Louis de Lissa. De Lissa was managing director of Motosacoche UK for 20 years, and died in Australia in 1961.
The article is quite entertaining:
DUE TO OLD PHONOGRAPH ENGINEER'S' EXPERIENCES
Mr. Osborne L. de Lissa, who after an absence of 35 years, arrived in Sydney last week as a representative of a big engineering firm in Birmingham, and who had experience during the war as adviser on automobile engines to the British Air Ministry, left Sydney on the Orient liner Ormtiz in 1906 (?) as a trimmer, with pay of l/- a month, later being promoted to the position of greaser.
His change of fortune (says the 'Herald') is due to an old phonograph which he made in his workshop in Sydney. He used to entertain officers on board with muslc by the old-fashioned instrument, which was driven by an electric motor.
Mr. de Lissa has brought back large numbers of silver trophies which he won for motor-cycling in England, records of five years as a mining englneer on the Gold Coast, and of employment in British motor factories. He was the pioneer of placing on the market in England of a lightweight motor-cycle, which he sold at the rate of 900 a year. He has decided to settle in Australia and keep his phoncgraph.
Sources: Graces Guide, National Library Australia, Moped Achive, et al.
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