BSA milestone


1855 John Dent Goodman elected as Chairman of Birmingham Small Arms Association.
1861 Birmingham Small Arms company formed to manufacture guns by machinery J.D.Goodman elected as chairman.

1863 Small Heath factory commences weapon manufacture as power engines are started.
1873 Birmingham Small Arms and Metal Company Ltd formed to deal with massive order placed by Prussian army.

1880 Mr Otto demonstrates his Dicycle to BSA Directors by riding it up and down boardroom table! First threeOtto machines delivered 5th August. Company adopt their ‘Piled Arms’ trademark.

1897 Company title reverts back to ‘Birmingham Small Arms Ltd’.
1905 First powered motor-bicycle produced using a Minerva engine. Eadie Manufacturing Company of Redditch acquired.

1910 First all-BSA 3½hp motor-bicycle unveiled at Olympia, London. Daimler Motor Company of Coventry acquired.

1913 Kenneth Holden, chief tester, wins first race on standard 3’/2hp model at Brooklands, averaging 60.75

1914 Six out of eight BSA entrants finish TT races. Model H, all chain driven, 557cc, 4lAhp introduced. First sidecars built. Great War marks return to mass production of munitions.

1915 Work commences on four-storey ‘New’ Building for Lewis Gun manufacture. Expansion to five factories

1919 BSA Cycles Ltd formed. Model E 770cc SV Vee-Twin announced.
1921 Tourist Trophy races end in total disaster. Six specially built machine all fail to finish. Commander Godfrey Herbert DSO appointed Managing Director, BSA Cycles Ltd.

1922 Model G 986cc SV Vee-Twin announced.
1923 Model range expanded with introduction of 350cc Model L and 500cc model S ‘Sports’.
1924 First production year for highly popular Model B ‘Round Tank’. First OHV Model L produced. Harry Perrey leads competition team up Screw Hill and to summit of Mount Snowden.

1926 First Maudes Trophy win with demonstration of sixty climbs of Bwlcb-Y-Groes. A. E. Perrigo joins competition department. Model S 500cc OHV ‘Sloper’ announced. John Castley and Bertram Cathrick set out on eighteen-month World Tour riding Model G Combinations.

1928 Redditch Eadie works closed, all motorcycle production transferred to Small Heath.
1929 Bert Perrigo wins inaugural British Experts Trial. First BSA three-wheeler powered by air-cooled Vee-Twin produced.

1931 New range of wet-sump lubricated, upright cylinder models announced.
1932 Bert Perrigo wins victory trial on Blue Star. Team award won by BSA team.
1933 Ambitious 500cc Fluid Flywheel motorcycle announced but fails to reach production stage.
1935 To commemorate King George V’s Silver Jubilee, Empire Star models annon
1936 Valentine Page joins design department and presents complete new range of M and B group singles, later joined by 250cc C group models.

1937 Walter Handley wins Brooklands Gold Star on dope-tuned M23 Empire Star. Alloy-engine M24 Gold Star announced at Earls Court.

1938 Second Maudes Trophy victory with endurance test using M21 Combination and M23 Empire Star.
1939 James Leek leads BSA in massive war effort by producing vast arsenal of weapons for Allies, plus 126,000 M20 motorcycles.

1940 Fifty-three BSA employees killed in Blitz. Programme of dispersal factories commenced.
1944 Ariel Motors of Selly Oak acquired.
1945 Production of civilian models resumed. Popular model B31 produced, equipped with telescopic forks.

1946 First 500cc OHV parallel twin model A7 announced. Redditch dispersal factory produces twin-cylinder Sunbeam S7.

1947 Return to Isle of Man TT as ZB Gold Stars enter Clubman races.
1948 First of half a million Bantam two-stroke models leaves Redditch factory.

1949 Herbert Hopwood joins BSA and designs 6SOcc Al0 Golden Flash. Harold Clark wins 350cc Clubmans TT.

1950 Harold Tozer wins first-ever ACU Sidecar Trials Star.
1951 Triumph Engineering Company acquired from Jack Sangster for £21/2m. Sangster joins BSA board of Directors.

1952 Third Maudes Trophy win as Brian Martin, Norman Vanhouse and Fred Rist sensationally take three stock A7 Star Twins on 4,500 mile (7,240km) test, winning ISDT team trophy. Gene Thiessen breaks world record on Bonneville salt flats reaching 143.5mph (230. l2kph) on methanol4uned Ab.

1953 BSA Motorcycles Ltd and BSA Cycles Ltd formed as separate divisions.
1954 Daytona Beach 200-mile (320km) race won by A7 Star Twins.
1956 Bernard Codd wins Junior and Senior Clubmans TT riding Gold Stars. Sir Bernard Docker ousted by Jack Sangster in AGM chairmanship battle. Edward Turner succeeds James Leek as Automotive Chief Executive.

1957 BSA Cycles sold to Raleigh; BSA and Daimler Cars sold to Jaguar Motors. £2.1 m profit announced.
1958 First in long line of unit construction singles as 250cc OHV model C15 is announced.
1961 BSA celebrates centenary. Jack Sangster retires after declaring annual profit of £3m. Succeeded by Eric Turner.

1962 Chris Vincent wins BSA’s first and only full International TT with A7 Shooting Star ‘kneeler outfit’. New range of unit-constructed twin-cylinder A50 and A65 models announced.

1963 Edward Turner retires as Managing Director, replaced by Harry Sturgeon. Ariel production transferred to Small Heath. National BSA Owners Club formed.

1964 Jeff Smith wins World Moto-Cross Championship. 44lcc Victor Scrambler produced.
1967 Death of Harry Sturgeon; Lionel Jofeh installed as Managing Director. Umberslade Hall research establishment founded. Queen’s Award to Industry granted.

1968 Second Queen’s Award presented to BSA. Three cylinder 750cc Rocket Three produced.
1970 Jeff Smith awarded MEE. Thirteen-model line-up including new 350cc OHC Fury shown at lavish London hotel dinner.

1971 BSA-Triumph Automotive Group devastated by £8m trading loss. Eric Turner and Lionel Jofeh depart. Lord Shawcross installed to lead rescue.

1972 Further £3 m loss declared by group.

1973 BSA near bankruptcy. Government-sponsored take-over by Manganese Bronze Holdings. Norton-Villiers-Triumph Company formed. Machines bearing the ‘Piled Arms’ trademark no longer produced.

1974 Triumph Meriden workers thwart attempts to produce Triumph engines at Small Heath. Factory site sold to Birmingham Corporation.

1975 Dutch BSA Owners Club formed.
1977 Small Heath factory demolished.

Source for the history:


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