The Butler Petrol Cycle
Edward Butler demonstrated his drawings for a petrol cycle at the Stanley Cycle Show in London in 1884. Butler adopted the 2 stroke principle for his engine which drove the back wheel through cranks and connecting rods from two cylinders mounted horizontally. By 1887 he had substituted a 4 stroke engine which had surprisingly advanced features such as chain driven rotary valves, electrical ignition and a float feed carburettor. Due to the high speed of the engine Butler replaced the direct connecting links to the rear wheel with an epicyclic reduction gear between the cranks and the rear wheel hub. The Butler worked too well and harsh bylaws prevented the machine from being used effectively, restricting motor vehicles to 4 mph. The police prevented Butler from riding it and eventually it was broken up for scrap.
Murray Barnard, Perth, Western Australia
© 1996 mbarnard