Butler, Edward

Butler, Edward
b. 1863
d. 1940
English motoring pioneer, designer of a motor tricycle.
In 1884 Butler patented a design for a motor tricycle that was shown that year at the Stanley Cycle Show and in the following year at the Inventions Exhibition. In 1887 he patented his "Petrol-tricycle", which was built the following year. The cycle was steered through its two front wheels, while it was driven through its single rear wheel. The motor, which was directly connected to the rear wheel hub by means of overhung cranks, consisted of a pair of water-cooled 2 1/4 in. (57 mm) bore cylinders with an 8 in. (203 mm) stroke working on the Clerk two-stroke cycle. Ignition was by electric spark produced by a wiper breaking contact with the piston, adopted from Butler's own design of electrostatic ignition machine; this was later replaced by a Ruhmkorff coil and a battery. There was insufficient power with direct drive and the low engine speed of c.100 rpm, producing a road speed of approximately 12 mph (19 km/h), so Butler redesigned the engine with a 6 3/4 in. (171 mm) stroke and a four-stroke cycle with an epicyclic reduction gear drive of 4:1 and later 6:1 ratio which could run at 600 rpm. The combination of restrictive speed-limit laws and shortsightedness of his backers prevented development, despite successful road demonstrations. Interest was non-existent by 1895, and the following year this first English internal combustion engined motorcycle was broken up for the scrap value of some 163 lb (74 kg) of copper and brass contained in its structure.
Further Reading
C.F.Caunter, 1982, Motor Cycles, 3rd edn, London: HMSO/Science Museum.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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