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WWI Cycle with Side Car

We just couldn’t let Rick Giles have all the fun. Rick kindly provided some drawings for his sidecar and we copied it as best we could. The cycle was a Honda Twin Star 250 that one of Hugh’s relatives had lying "behind the barn". Hugh’s diligent mechanizing brought it to life. I butchered some metal and welded up the side car and the attachment system. I believe Rick sells the plans if you are interested.

Walt Dudek technically owns it and has shown the bike all over the South Chicago Area. Just ask him how many trophies he has won! We had to build a whole shelving unit for him. Fortunately we talked Walt out of wearing his Kilt while driving the bike. Think about it. Gives you a cold sweat don't it? However we are indebted to Walt for researching the history of the Trusty Company and publishing it here for your edification.

History of the Trusty WWI Cycle with Side Car:


Founded by Humbert Trusty in 1909, H. TRUSTY, LTD. was THE Premiere manufacturer of British gourmet cutlery and kitchen tools. Their pocket knives and " Tin" openers were used throughout the British Empire from 1909 until the demise of the company in 1921. Many a British Tommy relied on his "Trusty can opener" to open his ration kit or his "Trusty pocket knife" for routine trench convenience. The usage of the "TRUSTY" logo occurred much as "Kleenex" or "Scotch Tape" does today. The inevitable lawsuits were unsuccessful and ironically hastened the financial ruin of the company. Humbert was under significant pressure and needed some type of mental diversion.

For better mental health, Humbert Trusty became fascinated with motorized vehicles, and in 1911 attempted to build a motorized lorry. The vehicle was underpowered and suffered from chronic mechanical failure. Those were the selling points of the vehicle. The cantalivered belt drive system was not able to perform under heavy loads or infact under any circumstances. Mechanical engineers of the company were unable to produce a reliable drive belt. Recent records indicate the Trusty engineers received an unsolicited analysis from one "A.D. McTavish" detailing the significant advantage of using wool fiber based drive belts rather than the current cotton fiber belts. However, actual field testing proved that the wet wool belts smelt of sheep. The odor was decidedly unpleasant and was likened to driving a putridly foul wet sweater. The lorry project was scrapped

Trusty then turned his attention to developing a motorized bicycle. In mid-June 1913, a reliable 2 cylinder "Otto-cycle" engine was constructed and Humbert built his first test cycle. Trusty’s motorcycles were, by today’s standards and in fact by the standards of that day, poorly balanced and hard to ride. In an attempt to keep the cycle upright, a counter weighted side car was added. Unbeknownst to Trusty, the main reason for the numerous reports of the cycle instability was the advanced state of inebriation of his Scottish test drivers. Thus in an attempt to render a "quick-fix" the cycle was stabilized by the addition of a shoddy sidecar. The "Witlock" side car was chosen due of its light weight(mainly due to the use of inferior "pot metal"), durability (about 20 minutes in extreme situations such as actually using the sidecar), cost and availability. Beginning in November, 1914 all Trusty motorcycles were produced with Witlock sidecars.

With the start of The Great War, the British Admiralty was hard pressed to provide motorized transportation for couriers. The criteria for the Admiralty basically came down to 1) did the vehicle start? 2) Was it light weight? 3) Was it cheap? The Army had priority on the more popular nameplate motorcycles and the Navy received supply from the second tier of manufactured vehicles. Thus during the War years, the entire production of Trusty Motorcycles went to the Admiralty.

H. TRUSTY, LTD never grasped mass production techniques for its motorcycles. Manufacturing never reached more than 60 units per year. One must note that that production figure does not necessarily mean functional vehicles produced, merely manufactured ones. The only theater of operations where the Trusty proved reliable was in Egyptian operational area. For some still unexplained reason the air-cooled 2 cylinder engine worked well in that hot dry climate. The sand grit in some way enhanced the gripping power of the brakes and tires. Not only had the machine at last found its niche, but H.TRUSTY, LTD. had found their cash cow! Eventually Trusty, LTD.divested themselves of the kitchen and cutlery divisions in order to boost production of the motorcycle/sidecars. All assembly lines and work force were geared toward the production of the new cycles. Projected demand by the Admiralty was astronomical and H.TRUSTY, LTD vowed to meet that projected demand. Orders for 1500 Trusty’s were placed November 09, 1918.

The November 11, 1918 Armistice terminated the Admiralty’s contract with H. TRUSTY, LTD. No cycles were delivered. The dies and tooling for knives and openers had been destroyed and smelted for engine blocks. By emptying all the warehouses and selling all available stock of knives kept the company afloat for a while. However with the advent of the new "Ginzu"knives advertised on the wireless, the company fell further on hard times and closed its doors March 15, 1921.

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