In the late 19th century, bicycle manufacturing became an important industry in Wolverhampton, employing many people. By the early years of the 20th century, the number of manufacturers had fallen, but many of the smaller businesses had been replaced by sizeable factories, where large numbers of people assembled cycles. The larger manufacturers such as Sunbeam, Star, and Wearwell, produced a considerable number of machines, most of which were lined, often in gold.

Lining was an extremely skilled occupation, usually carried-out by a team of girls and women, mainly because of the high level of dexterity required to achieve the required results. Any labour-saving aid, that would simplify, speed-up, and cheapen the process would be warmly welcomed.

The Wearwell Cycle Company Limited had a large factory in Pountney Street, producing all kinds of cycles. Sometime after 1900 Mr. J. H. Pickard began to develop a lining pen at the factory, to simplify and cheapen the lining process. His initial apparatus used a complicated and expensive set of guides, but appears to have been successful.

The following details from 1910 give an impression of the savings that were achieved at the Wearwell factory, when using the Pickard lining apparatus..

The initial development work at the factory ended in 1911 when Wearwell went into liquidation. William Clarke, who had been running the company, purchased the ailing Wulfruna Cycle Company based at Eagle works in Great Brickkiln Street, and formed the Wulfruna Engineering Company, to produce Wearwell and Wolf cycles.
By this time Mr. Pickard had developed his patented lining pen, a simple and cheap device that could be used to line cycle frames, forks, and mudguards, at a quarter of the cost of traditional brush lining.

The old method often took years to learn, whereas the lining pen could be mastered in a few minutes.

The advantages of using the the lining pen, and its potential market, must have been well understood by the Wulfruna Engineering Company, because by 1912 it was manufacturing, and selling  the product.

Pickard's Patent Lining Apparatus.

The device is a type of syringe, consisting of a metal tube, with a small diameter nozzle at one end, through which the paint flows. At the other end is a metal piston, and operating lever, to force the paint through the nozzle. An adjustable guide is attached to the side of the pen, to enable a line to be drawn parallel to the side of an article. The lining pen is held in the hand, in the same way as a writing pen. 

The paint supplied with the pen dries within a few minutes, and can be coated with the layer of protective varnish, applied with a camel hair brush. Both the varnish, and a suitable brush are included in the box, with the apparatus.

Lining a gent's cycle frame.

To line the top and bottom tubes of a gent's cycle frame, the frame is held in the left hand, and rested on the bench. The pen is held lightly, but firmly in the right hand.

To line the back and chain stays the frame is simply reversed.

To line the seat tube, rest the frame on the back fork ends.

A lady's cycle frame is lined in the same manner, except that the frame is held slightly sideways to line the loop tube.

Lining a lady's cycle frame.

Lining front forks.

To line the front forks, the steering column is rested on the bench, and one side of the lines on each fork are completed.

The forks are then reversed with the ends of the forks pressing on the bench. The opposite lines are then drawn.

To line a mudguard, place both ends on the bench as illustrated, draw the line on one side, then reverse the mudguard to draw the line on the other side.

If a central line is required, simply adjust the guide on the pen, and draw the line where necessary.

Lining mudguards.

Lining a gear case.

To line a gear case, hold it firmly in the left hand and carefully draw the pen around the outside edge.

The guide will of course accurately follow the edge.

To change colour, pour a small amount of turpentine into a container, fill the nozzle, and press your thumb on the end to squirt the liquid through the nozzle, so removing any residual paint.

The tube can then be washed-out with turpentine.

When a large quantity of work is to be carried out, it is worthwhile to have individual pens for each colour, to reduce cleaning time.

A price list from 1912.

The product was in use at Sunbeam, as can be seen from this testimonial.

An article from May, 1914.

The lining pens would be a useful tool for anyone repairing, or restoring a cycle, and also in cycle shops, where cycles were often assembled to individual customer's requirements.

An advert from 1917.

Another advert from 1917.

Manufacturing would have ceased in 1922 when the Wulfruna Engineering Company closed, after the death of its owner, William Clarke.

Undeterred, Mr. Pickard continued to develop his apparatus, and launched an improved version, which was sold under the name Pickard & Smith, based at 20 Paget Road. The improved pen had a freely rotating hardened steel wheel, mounted in front of the nozzle, to evenly spread the paint over the surface. The special paint supplied for the apparatus, contained varnish, so that is was no longer necessary to apply a protective coat of varnish.

The improved lining apparatus.

The booklet that came with the improved apparatus suggested a variety of applications such as lining children's toys, or prams, or even lining a tray.

Lining a tray.    

A later price list.

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