The Douglas company was started in 1882, not making motorcycles,
but making tools for making boots. It's first motorcycle was built in 1907,
in Bristol. The first engines were flat twins, the head and barrels were
set racing front and rear (see photo above right). They had a two speed
box, and the lever was set on top of the tank (you can just see it on the
top photo) giving them the nickname of the tram driver..
They enjoyed quite a lot of success in racing too, before 1914, when
they, like many manufacturers at the time were asked to make things other
than motorcycles. They re-started again in 1920. They had a lot of success
with in the Speedway circuits which was in it's infancy at the time.
The firm was sold in 1931, but still made motorcycles untill1957, even
if by 1951, they had been reduced to making Vespas under license.
If you want to know more, check: www.douglasmotorcycles.co.uk/