Acme, Allen, Antelope, Bamboo, Bates,
Beau Ideal, Beaumont, Bullock, Champion,
The Acme Cycle Company
The Acme Cycle Company was located in St. James' Street and Walsall Street.
The Bamboo Cycle Company
The Bamboo Cycle Company of Holbourne, London, had its works in Petit Street, off Pountney Street, Wolverhampton. Their machines initially had frames made of bamboo because it was very strong, lightweight and free from corrosion. In practice steel proved to be a much better material for the purpose and so only a few real bamboo bikes were made.
Later models were made of steel that was disguised to look like bamboo. The bicycles were fitted with the patent 'Doolittle' back pedalling brake and an automatically adjustable handlebar. The machines were only in production for a few years and it is thought that only small numbers were made. The company also had premises in Thomas Street.
Joseph Bates of Scarboro Works, Temple Street, produced a wide range of products including safety bicycles and tricycles. Other products included locks, hinges and handles, many of which would have been cast in the company's own brass foundry. Nickel plating and japanning were also undertaken.
By 1889 dwarf safety cycles dominated the market, about 90 percent of all the machines produced were of this type and they were rapidly increasing in popularity. The divided (or braced) diamond pattern frame had more or less superseded the old-fashioned skeleton diamond frame and improved methods of chain adjustment were being developed. Joseph Bates' machines took full advantage of the latest developments, as can be seen from entries in "Bicycles & Tricycles of the Year 1889" by Harry Hewitt Griffin.
Two Bates' dwarf safety’s were available at the time. The first, 'The Swallow Dwarf Safety Roadster', had a very light diamond-frame with the upper and lower tubes running to the top and bottom of the long centres. The steering-rod was brought back to the rider in a bold, sweeping curve, and ‘T’ handles were fitted as standard. Either tangential or direct spokes could be fitted to order and 0.75 inch tyres were fitted to the 30 inch wheels. The well-made machine included a powerful direct plunger brake and ball bearings on both wheels. The machine sold for £15.16s.6d. or £16.16s.6d. with hollow rims.
The second machine, 'The Torpedo Dwarf Safety Semi-Racer' had an open diamond frame with a central stay and curved front forks, consisting of round tubes running through a square bridge at the top. The handlebar was of a cow horn shape, and adjustments to the chain could be made chain from the rear fork ends. 30 inch wheels were fitted as standard with 0.5 inch rubber felloes and ball bearings. The lightweight machine sold for £15.
A ladies tricycle was also available in the form of 'The Phono Lady's Direct Steering Roadster'. The machine featured a more or less straight connecting frame between the centres, with only a slight dip. An adjustable stay connected the top of the perpendicular seat-pillar and centres, and this could be dropped from the front and bolted to a lug at the lowest part of the frame. The fixed curved stay behind the seat-pillar was of light construction and the crank bracket could be drawn forward by a set screw and a hinged ‘Y’ joint. Light tangent spokes were fitted to the wheels, which had hollow rims and ball bearings. Well positioned ‘T’ handles were fitted along with foot rests, dress chain guard, and a direct brake. The machine sold for £23.13s.
Beau Ideal was founded by Mr. Charles Richards, in 1880. The works were in Frederick Street, Heath Town, and the extensive showrooms were at Gresham Chambers in Lichfield Street. The company produced large numbers of bicycles, and a few motorcycles. One unusual product was a bicycle that could be ridden by both sexes. Its crossbar could be lowered so that it could be ridden by ladies.
The Beaumont Cycle Company
The following description is from the 1897 edition of the "Illustrated Towns of England Business Review of Wolverhampton".
The Beaumont Cycle Company has been established in Wolverhampton about six years, and in this comparatively short period of time, has made astonishing progress, in so much that recently extensions have been made to their works, and increased plant and machinery laid down to enable the firm to meet the increased demand. The premises utilised are located in Cleveland Road and Vane Street, and comprise a good-sized works, well-equipped with the very latest machinery and other appliances to attain the best results, and every convenience is possessed to meet the requirements of the business.
The machines manufactured by the Beaumont Cycle Company are known throughout the country for their high-class qualities, and numerous voluntary testimonials have been received by the firm from professional and amateur cyclists, who regard the “Beaumont” as unsurpassed in lightness, strength, and speed.
In addition to the cycles made for gent’s and ladies, the firm have produced machines specially adapted for youthful riders of either sex, and constructed with the latest improvements. The Beaumont “Roadster” is a remarkably taking machine, the frame is of genuine weldless steel tubes, with ‘D’ section back stays, high tension, tangent and part-plated spokes, cork or felt handles, rat trap or rubber pedals, Brampton’s No. 56 saddle, and hardened steel link chain, detachable brake and mudguards, wheels, 28in. or to order, finished in brilliant black enamel, and usual parts heavily plated, weight, 32lbs.
The firm are equally successful in ladies machines, and never fail to give satisfaction to their patrons. A considerable number of hands are employed, and the enterprise is conducted upon lines that reflect the highest credit on the firm, who are to be congratulated upon their eminent success.
The following description is taken from "Sturmey's Indispensable Handbook to the Safety Bicycle, Treating of Safety Bicycles, Their Varieties, Construction & Use" by Henry Sturmey, published in 1885:
A. Robinson & Co., Albert Place, Hospital Street, Wolverhampton.
Connaught cycles were founded by Edwin John Sharratt sometime after his partnership with Edward Lisle ended in 1879. Edwin Sharratt was born in 1852 and grew up in his mother Sarah's shop at 15 Franchise Street. In the 1871 census he is described as an unemployed coachman.
Edwin purchased the ex-Humber factory in Pountney Street and joined Edward Lisle in the new business called Sharratt and Lisle, they also had premises in Stewart Street. It seems that Edwin had no previous experience in manufacturing or mechanics and so that side of the business must have been left to Edward.
The Stewart Street works were purchased from Hinde, Harrington & Co. who produced 'Desideratum' bicycles. In 1879 Sharratt decided that he did not want to follow the same business path as Lisle and left the partnership to start his own separate business, Sharratt and Co.
He produced bicycles using the Connaught trade name and joined forces with a Mr. Parker. The company went into liquidation in 1895 with debts of over £800. Both firms still used the Pountney Street works, but whether they were in separate buildings or had split one building between them is not known.
Cunard bicycles and tricycles were made by Frank Gibbons at St. John's
Works. A wide range of machines were produced including tandems. The
advantages claimed for the company's tandems included an even
distribution of weight between the wheels in a single or double form.
The machines were easily convertible to singles or a third seat for a
child could be added. The width could be easily reduced to 27 inches by
removing a fly nut so that the machine could pass through a narrow
The following description is taken from
"Sturmey's Indispensable Handbook to the Safety Bicycle,
Treating of Safety Bicycles, Their Varieties, Construction &
Use" by Henry Sturmey, published in 1885:
William Mansell founded the Dart Cycle Works at his shop premises at 24 Bilston Street. Little is known about the company or its products.
Photographic goods and cycles were on sale in the shop and cycles, electrical goods, watches, clocks and radios were repaired there. Films were also developed and printed on the premises.
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