Cycle manufacturer D. H. & S. in Sedgley Street, Wolverhampton produced Diamond Cycles, which were named after the diamond frame design that owes its origins largely to James Starley's 1885 Rover Safety bicycle.

Diamond cycles were high quality machines, that were built in reasonable numbers.

Around 1908 the company decided to add motorcycles to its product range, and was restructured as the
D. F.& M.  Engineering Company Limited. D. F.& M. was an abbreviation for Dorsett, Ford & Mee.

Initially a few machines, both singles and V-twins, were built using Belgian F.N. engines.

In 1912 a 2¾hp. machine was launched, featuring a J.A.P. 4-stroke engine, two speed gearbox and fully enclosed moving parts. It sold for 50 guineas, but sales were poor. 

A new factory called Diamond Works was soon acquired in Vane Street, Wolverhampton, and models 'C', 'D', and 'E' were launched.

Production ceased in 1916, because of wartime Government restrictions.

 


An advert from 1914.


The model 'C' from the 1915 catalogue.

The model 'C' was a single-speed, belt driven machine, powered by a 2½hp. Villiers engine. It sold for £50. It was also available as the model 'D' with a 2-speed gearbox, and a selling price of £60. The top of the range model 'E' had a 2¾hp. 4-stroke J.A.P. engine, a 2-speed Enfield gearbox, round-top Dunlop belt drive, 26inch wheels, Druid forks, 2 leather pannier bags, and a toolkit, complete with screwdriver, spanners, tyre lever and oil can. It sold for £66. The machines were quite popular.  


The model 'E' from the 1915 catalogue.


Another view of the model 'E'.


The powerful heel-operated brake and the conveniently placed adjustable footrests that were a feature of the 1915 models.
The machines were fitted with a sturdy frame that had a slanting top rail with a special seat pillar which was curved to give a low saddle position. This method of construction added strength to the frame.

The bottom rail was horizontal and had tank supporting platforms cast on the lugs at either end. The rear down tube terminated in a specially cast lug, which formed the engine supporting plates and chain stay attachment.

The chain stay itself was secured to the lug by a single bolt.

An extremely simple yet effective rear brake was fitted which had very few moving parts. It was attached to the frame by a specially cast lug on the rear stay and consisted of just the brake pedal and a brake shoe. It was operated by the rider's heel and was a great improvement over the commonly used pull rod.

The machines were fitted with Dunlop or Avon 26inch by 2inch studded tyres and transmission was by an Avon belt. A large pan-seat saddle was fitted for extra comfort.


The special seat pillar lug and tank support.
The specially cast lug at the bottom of the rear down tube, which formed the engine supporting plates, and chain stay attachment.


An advert from 1920.

Four new machines were launched in 1922, models 'A', 'F', 'G', and 'H'. The model 'A' had a 350c.c. J.A.P. engine, Druid forks, clutch, kick start, and was available with a 2 or 3 speed gearbox. The 2 speed model sold for 66 guineas and the 3 speed model sold for 70 guineas.

The model 'F' had a 293c.c. J.A.P. engine, Druid forks, clutch, kick start, and was also available with a 2 or 3 speed gearbox. The 2 speed model sold for 58 guineas and the 3 speed model sold for 62 guineas. The 'Super Sports Model G' had a 350c.c. J.A.P. engine, 3 speed Sturmey Archer gearbox, Druid forks, Hans Renold or Coventry roller chain drive, and sold for 80 guineas.

The 'Super Sports Model H' had a 250c.c. J.A.P. engine, 2 or 3 speed Sturmey Archer gearbox, Druid forks, and a Hans Renold or Coventry roller chain drive. The 2-speed model sold for 75 guineas, and the 3-speed model sold for 79 guineas.


The model 'A' from the 1922 catalogue.


The model 'F' from the 1922 catalogue.


The 'Super Sports Model G' from the 1922 catalogue.


The 'Super Sports Model H' from the 1922 catalogue.


The lightweight Diamond duplex frame. Patent number 155882/19. From the 1922 catalogue.

In the early 1920's the company had numerous successes in reliability trials and races, and won 65 awards in trials alone, including a gold medal in the Paris-Nice Trial, a gold medal in the A.C.U. Six Days Trial, the highest award in the Victory Cup Trial. In 1921, Diamond won the Flying Five Miles and the Standing 10 Miles at Brooklands, and Kay Don won the special 1921 Brooklands 250c.c. speed trial, on a Diamond machine, at 69.59m.p.h. In 1924, Diamond rider J. A. Forsythe achieved second place in the 250c.c. class in the Ulster Grand Prix.


The 1½hp. ultra lightweight model from the 1923 catalogue.

The 1923, 1½hp. ultra lightweight model had a Villiers engine, 2 speed Sturmey Archer gearbox, A.M.A.C. carburettor, Druid forks, Dunlop tyres, and sold for £35.  


Another view of the 1½hp. model.


The 2½hp. ultra lightweight model from the 1923 catalogue.

The 1923, 2½hp. ultra lightweight model had a Villiers engine, 2 speed Sturmey Archer gearbox, clutch and kickstart, chain drive, A.M.A.C. carburettor, Druid forks, Dunlop tyres, and sold for £52.10s. It was also available with a 3½hp. Villiers engine, 3 speed gearbox, shock absorber, and sold for £60. 

Sales were not good. By 1926 only two models were on offer, and production ceased in 1928. The story didn't end there however, because Walter Vincent Ford, Diamond's managing director and designer, founded Diamond Motors in St. James Square, Wolverhampton, and motorcycle production restarted in 1930.


The 'Diamond' from the 1930 catalogue.

The 1930 model was powered by a 247c.c., 2-stroke Villiers engine, and included a 3-speed Burman gearbox, a 3-plate clutch, Druid sports forks, and was priced at 35 guineas. It was also available with electric lighting for an extra £2.12s, and a dynamo charging set at an extra £5. The machine was fitted with Dunlop 25 inch by 3inch tyres and 6inch internal expanding brakes.

Diamond also produced the 1930 motorcycle in kit-form, for export. The export kits were sold minus the engine, which would be ordered separately from Villiers. Local agents could assemble the machine, and put their own name on the petrol tank.


One of the last machines, the 148c.c. model from 1933.
Sales were poor and production finally ceased in 1933.

From the early 1920s until 1931 Diamond machines competed in the Isle of Man T.T. In the 1924 Ultra Lightweight race, Alec Bennett finished in 9th place riding his 175c.c. Villiers powered Diamond.

Diamond's greatest T.T. success was in the 1926 Ultra Lightweight race when Syd Gleeve finished in 7th place.


The Diamond 'Alec Bennett' model.

Although motorcycle production ended in 1933, the company continued to exist for many years, manufacturing sidecars, trailer and caravan chassis, and electric trucks. In October 1931 motorcycle manufacturer A.J.S. went into voluntary liquidation. At the time they made sidecars using the 'Graiseley' name.

Walter Vincent Ford was approached by Alec Holder, who had worked for Clyno as a draughtsman, and Harold Nock, who later acquired D.M.W. with the idea of acquiring the A.J.S. sidecar business in order to manufacture sidecars and supply them to existing A.J.S. customers. As a result, Diamond Motors purchased the A.J.S. sidecar business, together with the 'Graiseley' trade mark for £475, and continued to produce 'Graiseley' sidecars for ex-A.J.S. customers, including Swallow.

In 1935 the business moved to the old Villiers foundry building in Upper Villiers Street, Wolverhampton, and extended the product range to include the 'Graiseley' pedestrian controlled electric truck. It initially proved popular as a cheap milk delivery vehicle, but then found uses in hospitals, factories, and warehouses, where its fumeless, noiseless, and economical operation, made it an ideal form of transport.

 
 
A 'Graiseley' truck in operation.


The 'Graiseley' electric milk float.


The 'Graiseley' milk float that is on display at the Atwell-Wilson Motor Museum, Calne, Wiltshire. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

Another view of the Atwell-Wilson Motor Museum's 'Graiseley' milk float. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.
During World War 2 the company produced gun carriages and electric trucks for the War Department, and also did machining for the Air Ministry. After the war production of electric trucks resumed. Production of 'Graiseley' products continued until around 1960 when the company went into liquidation.

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