Swans and Cygnets
THE Cheshire village of Frodsham may have several claims to fame,
but it is hardly a place one associates with the history of motor-cycling.
Yet, prior to the First World War, it was the birthplace of Swans
and Cygnets! Not that they ever took to water they were never
Swans and Cygnets were motor-cycles, manufactured at a little factory
in High Street, by the Swan Motor Manufacturing Company (later called
Cygnet Motors) and such was their impact that one Swan
motor-cycle was exhibited at the Olympia Motor Show, in London,
The Swan was an open-frame machine, equipped, not only with a gear
box, but with front and rear springing, almost unheard of at that
time. It also had an all-chain drive when belts were
the norm. Later, many innovations were incorporated, including a
much lighter steel alloy frame.
The company was owned and managed by Mr F.H.Thornton who lived across
the road from the factory, in the Manor House, then called Deyne
A team of three Swans, one ridden by Mr Thornton himself,
took part in the A.C.U. International Six Days Trial, in Somerset
and Devon, in 1912, and with their open frames and pan
seats attracted considerable attention.
They all performed admirably during a rain-lashed week and one,
ridden by M.Garrey, completed with 925 points, ensuring that a Swan
gained a Silver Medal.
Sadly, the little Frodsham company soon went into decline. Apparently,
Mr Thornton had been away on business, only to return to find that
his employees had been working a fiddle, selling bits
and pieces stolen from the works.
Such was the owners chagrin that he immediately closed the
works, sacked the entire staff and buried what Swan parts remained
in a hole on the site.
And so came to an end Frodshams brief but fascinating sojourn
into the world of motor-cycling.
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