Easthopes Limited

We must thank Ron Easthope from New Zealand, for sending the information on this important nineteenth century bicycle manufacturer.

The company was founded by Ron's great grandfather, Edwin Easthope in the late 1870's. It was situated at 24 St. John Street, Wolverhampton, in the old Grammar School building. Ron has an incomplete copy of the company's catalogue that included at least 12 machines, many of which had unique features.

This page from the catalogue describes the Easthope No. 1 machine. Sadly we do not have the facing page which includes a drawing, specification and price of the bicycle.

The Easthope No.2 is described as follows:
"As we told you on the fourth page, our business is cycle making. We therefore produce the above that our clients may have the choice of the machines that we make. Mind you, our machines are made and finished. We do not confine ourselves to one pattern and set them piecework by gross. Such machines are dear at any price.

In "The Easthope" No.2 a curved tube is substituted, rigidly brazed to the frame at the seat pillar and bracket, in place of the two light plated rods used in the No.1, and by some is preferred accordingly.

We can execute your order for either."



Wheels - 30in. front and back, direct spokes.
Gear - 54in. or 57in. to order.
Socket - Adjustable ball socket.
Hubs - Adjustable ball hubs, our special pattern.
Pedals - Adjustable ball rubber.
Frame - Weldless steel tube.
Handles - Best horn, telescopic and adjustable.
Seat Pillar - Adjustable.
Bracket - Adjustable swing bracket.
Foot Rests -   Adjustable.
Crank - Detachable.
Enamel - Brilliantly enamelled and lined.
Plating - Handle-bar, brake-work, seat pillar, cranks, nuts & bolts nickel plated.
Equipment - Saddle, tool bag, spanner, and oilcan.

The Easthope No.3 bicycle

The Easthope No.3 bicycle is described as follows:
"This is a high class Double Diamond Frame, and needs no words of praise from us. We may say that since its introduction, twelve months ago, we have not had to repair from any cause a single broken frame of this pattern, this we think is a guarantee of its rigidity and strength. The specification on the other side gives all the necessary details."
A poem from the catalogue.

The specification for the Easthope No.3 is identical to the specification for the Easthope No.2.

The Easthope No.4 bicycle is described as follows:
"This we produce to meet the wishes of our clients for a good rigid machine with a fixed bracket. In this machine the slack of the chain is taken up by the adjustment of the screws at the back fork ends. We shall thank buyers to read carefully our instructions to adjust on page 6. As a good, sound serviceable machine, we recommend it with every confidence."

The Easthope No.4 bicycle



Wheels - 28in. front and back, direct spokes.
Gear - 54in. or to order.
Socket - Adjustable ball.
Hubs - Adjustable ball, our special pattern.
Pedals - Adjustable ball rubber.
Frame - Weldless steel tube.
Handles - Best horn, telescopic and adjustable.
Seat Pillar - Adjustable.
Bracket - Rigid.
Foot Rests -   Adjustable.
Crank - Detachable.
Enamel - Brilliant black and lined in bronze and colour.
Plating - Handle-bars, brake lever, pillar, cranks, nuts, bolts etc. nickel plated.
Equipment - Saddle, tool bag, spanner, and oilcan.

The Easthope No.5 bicycle

The specification for the Easthope No.5 is identical to the specification for the Easthope No.4.

The catalogue also includes details of the above models, but sadly we have no information on them, other than what follows.



Wheels - 28in. or 30in. tangent spokes.
Rims - Warwick's patent hollow.
Chain - Brampton's or Perry's best.
Socket - Adjustable ball.
Hubs - Special light tangent.
Pedals - Ball rubber or rat trap to order.
Gear - To order.
Frame - Special light weldless steel tube.
Handles - Best horn, cork, or india rubber, telescopic and adjustable.
Seat Pillar - Adjustable.
Bracket - Fixed or swing, as shown on the various illustrations.
Foot Rests -   Adjustable.
Crank - Special round detachable.
and Brake
- With or without to order.
Enamel - Brilliant black with solid English gold lines.
Plating - Handle-bars, brake-work, seat pillar, cranks, nuts and bolts  nickel plated.
Equipment - Hammock saddle, bag, spanner, and oilcan.


The last page that we have from the catalogue includes an amusing poem that was written by one of the company's agents from Southampton. Unfortunately the poet is not named, or a date given.

                 As I am leaving the country where I have been so long and well known as one of the leading Cycle Agents, I thought it only right that I should give you some expression of the pleasure I always experienced handling your machines. You will see that it has taken the form of a few verses, which I submit for the thoughtful consideration of Agents and riders alike.

An Agent's Advice

You may talk of your "Premier," your "Humber," or "Rudge,"
Your "Rover," your "Singer," your "Psycho," but fudge;
If to beat all the lot in machines you should hope,
You have only to purchase a first grade "Easthope,"

Perhaps in your mind you may have the "Referee,"
The "Whitworth," the "Raleigh," the "Ivel," the "R. & P:"
You must give the lot up if the world you would cope,
And plank down your piece and buy the "Easthope."

Perhaps it's a "Sunbeam" that strikes you today,
A "Whippet," "Wulfruna," a "Star" - who shall say?
What ever it be, I can only hope
That you will think o'er it twice, then buy the "Easthope."

Perhaps for a record you would have a fling
On a record machine that the (press) says the thing:
Do not be misled by such silly soft soap,
Let it be recorded that you have brought the "Easthope."

They do not keep paid amateurs who sometimes records make:
They do not build such light machines, that ride them and they break:
They do not largely advertise, for puns they cannot hope,
But they rely on worth, my boy - the worth of the "Easthope."

So my advice to riders is to study well each verse,
To better buy you need not try - you only will get worse;
I now must close my rhyming; I sail now for Cape Hope,
And take with me some dozens three of machines called the "Easthope."

The company's premises was the old Grammar School in St. John's Street. The school closed in 1874 and Edwin purchased the building on 1st May 1877 for £2,600.


Photograph courtesy of Ron Easthope

The company's letterhead shows the old Grammar School and also lists the other services that the company offered.

An advert from 1884.

The following, from a Wolverhampton trade journal, contains a lot of information on the company and details of the bicycle works.

Easthope Bros., Wholesale Paperhanging, Paint, Oil, Colour and General Merchants, 24, St. John

An old established and well-known firm of paperhanging, paint, oil, colour and general merchants in Wolverhampton is that of Messrs. Easthope Bros., whose business was established in 1810, and since then has built up a valuable and still increasing connection in each branch. The building occupied at 24, St. John Street, is the site of the old grammar school, and is centrally situated, and in every way adapted for the convenient carrying on of the business. It presents an attractive frontage, extending about 24 yards, and comprises spacious well fitted-up stores, etc., heavily stocked with every description of goods appertaining to the trade, under which comprehensive heading are the following: paints, oils, and colours of all kind, English wall papers in great variety, and newest designs and patterns, and by the best makers, brushes, mouldings, etc. The stock is well kept and neatly and effectively arranged, and is of a thoroughly, superior and high-class character, as the members of the firm purchase from the most reliable markets only, and devote great care and attention in selecting all their goods. They employ a number of experienced hands and extend a personal supervision over all affairs, taking care that customers are promptly and courteously attended to, and that large or small orders are executed with despatch and accuracy. The members of the firm are gentlemen of experience and enterprise, and through their straightforward business methods have gained the respect of all who deal with them. They also carry on the business of cycle manufacturers under the style of the Midland Cycle Co., Bell Street, where the cycle works are situated, and which is carried on under their personal supervision, the machines manufactured bearing comparison with any of the leading makers. They hold several valuable patents connected with the above trade; one of the most recent is their "Sublime Spring Frame Safety," which we herewith illustrate. This machine they claim as perfectly free from vibration, and at the same time there is no loss of power. They also make all the leading types of machines at present on the market. Any of our readers who are interested in cycling we should strongly advise to send for the firm's price lists, which will be forwarded free by return of post.

The 'Sublime Spring Frame Safety' bicycle


The company found itself in financial difficulties in the early 1890's and went into liquidation. This resulted from losing money after shipping two lots of cycles to an American customer, who coincidentally had gone into liquidation.

Ron has sent us a copy of some of the pages from the catalogue that was produced for the sale of the business in August 1892. The pages that still exist cover two days of the sale. The second day of the sale was the bicycle fitting shops and the third day was two of the   warehouses, the enamelling shop and the packing room.

The catalogue for the sale of the bicycle business is extremely interesting as it actually lists the contents of a 19th century bicycle making factory, and so is probably unique. The following is a list of the sale items from the bottom and top fitting shops. We have excluded the 25 completed cycles that were also in the sale. The sale took place on Tuesday, 30th August, 1892.

  Bottom Fitting Shop
2 - Instantaneous vice and work bench
1 - Damaged vice
1 - Quantity brass hubs
1 - Quantity of files
1 - Quantity of steel drills and lathe tools in pigeon holes
1 - Screw-cutting turning lathe, 3ft 6in. bed, on iron stand with slide rest and back centre, with overhead motion and change gear.
1 - Powerful screw-cutting turning lathe, with compound slide rest, back centre and vice, 6ft bed, overhead motion, fast and loose pulleys, on iron stand, with expanding chuck, by Pitt's Yorkshire Machine Co.
1 - Powerful turning lathe with 6ft bed, an iron stand, back centre and slide rest, overhead motion, fast and loose pulleys, and foot gear.
1 - Powerful self-feeding drilling machine by Eliza Tinsley, Great Bridge, with reversing plate and slide vice, drills to 1.5in. with fast and loose pulleys.
1 - Turning lathe with 5ft bed, on iron stand, compound slide rest and back centre, overhead motion, by Pitt’s Yorkshire Machine Co.
1 - Reversing Tapping Lathe on wood bed.
1 - Large grindstone, 24in., with pulley wheel, on wood stand.
1 - Anvil and stone block.
1 - Pair of 24in. circular Smith’s Bellows with iron frame and hearth.
11 - Lathe carriers.
1 - Quantity of turning tools.
1 - 18ft of 2in. Turned Shafting, with 2 iron brackets, and 10 pulley wheels.
4 - Driving belts.
5 - Driving belts.
1 - 3.5in. main driving belt.
1 - Quantity of lathe tools.
1 - Small lathe hub drill.
1 - Quantity taps, dies, and rose bits, in cupboard.
4 - Bars 0.675in. round iron, 50lbs, and 1 bar steel.
2 - Bushes, and 2 sledges.
1 - Quantity rose bits and lathe tools in cupboard.
1 - 13 step ladder.
2 - 2 Machine oil and drum.
1 - Quantity gas tubing and odd iron.
4 - Pulleys.
2 - Work benches and stool.
1 - Large stove and piping.
4 - Gas brackets.
12 - Pneumatic rims, 28in. x 1.75in.
6 - Cushion rims, 30in. x 1in.
12 - Cushion rims, 30in. x 1.125in.
24 - Pneumatic rims, 28in. x 1.75in.
36 - Pneumatic rims, 28in. x 2in.
6 - Cushion rims, 28in. x 1.75in.
18 - Hollow U rims, 30in. x 0.875in.
12 - Assorted U rims.
10 - Cushion rims.
52 - Assorted rims.
1 - Quantity of bicycle spokes.
2 - Rim marking boards, 2 wheels, and an old gun.
18 - Steel pneumatic forks.
15 - Steel handle bars and brake levers.
10 - Roller chain wheels and cranks.
1 - Quantity tyres and saddles.
1 - Buckets, paint cans, etc.
1 - Top Fitting Shop
1 - Portable smith’s hearth, with pair 18in. bellows, and blow pipe.
9 - Instantaneous vice.
1 - Upright drilling machine with sliding table, and pulleys.
4 - Steel forks and frame.
7 - Hollow forks.
4 - Steel pneumatic forks.
5 - Hollow frame ends.
1 - Sundry tubing.
1 - Lot files and 4 squares.
1 - Iron plate and hubbin.
10 - bicycle stands.
4 - show cards, and quantity of old springs.
1 - Electro-plated steel tubes, forming show stand, with knobs.
1 - 50ft. gas rail, round top, and 12 brackets.
2 - 10ft work bench, with gas rail and 6 burners.
1 - 38ft workbench, round.
1 - 16ft workbench, round.
1 - Odd iron sundries.
1 - Bicycle fork, 2 wheels, etc.
1 - Lot bags.

The third day of the sale took place on Thursday 1st September, and consisted of the contents of Warehouse No.1, Warehouse No.2, the Enamelling Shop and the Packing Room. As the contents of the warehouses was mainly stock items we have excluded them from this list. We have also excluded the packing room as only four items are listed at the bottom of a page. Its likely that this list would have continued on other pages which we do not have.

  Enamelling Shop
2 - 2gall. Black enamel.
1 - 3gall. Pontypool varnish.
1 - 3gall. Black tar varnish.
5 - Tins Berlin black, gold size, etc.
1 - Sundry paint kettles and brushes.
1 - Wrought Iron Enamelling Stove, 5ft. 9in. x 3ft, 4in x 6ft, with gas fittings and racks.
1 - Wrought Iron Enamelling Stove, 6ft. x 3ft, 3in x 3ft, with gas fittings and racks.
34 - Mud guards and 1 fork.
1 - 7ft 6in. bench.
1 - Benching round shop.
2 - Iron rods and supports.
1 - Gas rail, 33ft long, and 2 double pendants.
1 - Materials forming Wood Shed, 51ft long, with galvanised roof, half glazed.


In 1920 Ron's grandfather Alfred Easthope emigrated to New Zealand with his wife and three children. He was 60 years old at the time. In New Zealand they joined another daughter, who in 1918 had married a soldier from New Zealand. The soldier had been recovering in Wolverhampton after losing a leg in the first world war.

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