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Alfred Angas Scott
Alfred Angas Scott
Born 1875
Manningham, Bradford UK
Died 1923
Residence England, U.K.
Nationality British
Occupation Motorcycle designer and manufacturer

Alfred Angas Scott was a motorcycle designer, inventor and founder of the Scott Motorcycle Company. A prolific inventor, he took out over 50 patents between 1897 and 1920, mostly concerning two-stroke engines and road vehicles. Scott was a keen potholer and the second president of the Gritstone club. In July 1923 Scott travelled back to Bradford in his open Scott Sociable wearing wet potholing clothes and contracted pneumonia from which he died.

Early life

Born in Manningham, a mill town just north of Bradford in 1875 , Alfred Scott's familty moved to Scotland and he went to school at Melrose on the Scottish border near Selkirk. They later moved to Uttoxeter in Staffordshire where Alfred sudied engineering and design at Abbotsholme School. He was a gifted engineer and inventor and trained in engineering at shipbuilders Douglas & Grant in Kirkcaldy and worked at W. Sisson & Co Ltd in Gloucester, where he learnt to design and develop marine engines. Much of Scott's early experimental work was on the development of two-stroke marine engines which he would test by running them for long periods at full power on a water brake. He formed a syndicate of boating enthusiasts with his brothers Herbert and Norman Scott and two others to finance the development of marine engine for motor boats. This included the invention of a pawl and ratchet starter was used which later became part of a patent application for a kickstarter on almost all motorcycles to follow.


Alfred Scott's first motorcycle was developed from his own 2 horsepower (1.5 kW) twin cylinder engine design which he hand built and fitted to the steering head of a bicycle. These engines were used to power equipment such as lathes and light machinery and Scott had been involved in the manufacture of 'Premier' pedal cycles. He developed this prototype into a motorcycle and six were produced under contract by friends with a car company called Jowett in Bradford. Scott patented an early form of calliper brakes in 1897 (Patent GB 1626 of 1897), designed a fully triangulated frame, rotary induction valves, and used unit construction for his motorcycle engine.

Scott Sociable
Scott Sociable at the Bradford Industrial Museum

Scott started making boat engines in 1900. He patented his first engine in 1904 (Patent GB 3367 of 1904) and started motorcycle production in 1908 with a vertical two-stroke 450 cc twin, with patented triangulated frame, chain drive, neutral-finder, kick starter (Patent GB 27667 of 1908), and two-speed gearbox. His patented two-stroke engine designs are still the basis of modern two-stroke engines and features such as the first kick start, monoshock suspension, efficient radiators, rotary inlet valves, drip-feed lubricators and centrestands continue to this day.

He formed The Scott Motorcycle Company in 1908. The motorcycles produced there were very successful in competitions, winning the fastest laps at the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy race) from 1911-14, with outright wins in 1912 and 1913. Scott's motorcycles were deemed to be 'too efficient' for racing against motorcycles of the same capacity, so their cubic capacity was multiplied by 1.32 for competitive purposes.

Alfred Scott left the company in 1915 and after World War I formed the Scott Autocar Company in nearby Bradford to make a motorcycle/car hybrid called the Sociable. This was half sidecar and half a car 3-wheeler, originally designed for military use as a machine gun carrier, with a single front wheel on the offside in line with the rear wheel, creating a layout similar to a motorcycle and sidecar combination. The wooden bodywork was mounted on a tubular, triangular frame and the engine was Scott's own design, a 578 cc water-cooled, two-cylinder, two-stroke engine. The idea was not a success and production ended in 1925.