Tolman, Ulett, Vanguard, Victoria, Whild, Whitmore, Williams

William Tolman

The image below is courtesy of Jim Boulton. It is part of a leaflet that was issued in about 1869 by William Tolman, cycle maker of Bell Street, Wolverhampton and found by Max Hill when he unwound a shocking coil that had been made by his grandfather, who used leaflets as insulation.

The specification included gunmetal bearings and rollers, ash wheels, varnished or coloured to choice, superior brake action and forged iron parts. Prices varied from £3.15s.0d. to £7.10s.0d.

R.W. Ulett & Son

Courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.


An 1885 Vale Roadster with a 52 inch driving wheel.

It is not known where Vale cycles of Walsall were produced. The roadster had a 'kangaroo' chain reduction drive to the front wheel and weighed under 19 lbs.


An advert from 1896.

An advert from 1899. Vanguard Cycles were based in Bradford Street.

An advert from 1893.


The 'Victoria'

Joseph Whild

Courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.


Courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.

An advert from 1892.

B.F. Williams

Cycle maker B.F. Williams had a new purpose built factory erected in Stafford Street. He produced a wide range of machines that were sold under the names of towns such as York, Canterbury, and Bristol.

The following description of the cycle works and Mr. Williams' other products is from the "Illustrated Towns of England Business Review of Wolverhampton" from 1897:

B. F. Williams, "Bell" Cycle Works, Stafford Street. This business affords a striking proof of what may be accomplished by energy and well-directed enterprise. It had its origin only a few years back at “Elephant" Works and in this new departure there is every indication of Mr. Williams being eminently successful. "Bell" Works have been specially constructed to meet all the requirements of the trade, and are equipped with the latest and best approved machinery and appliances for speedy and economical production. Mr. Williams claims for the "Bell" that it is equal in every respect to any machine on the market, and the numerous unsolicited testimonials, and the unusual pace at which the connection has developed certainly testify to the right of this claim. A large number of hands are employed in the various departments, and in all operations only the best quality materials are used, while another noteworthy feature of this establishment is the great care which is exercised to ensure that none but the most sound and highly finished machines leave the premises. An illustrated catalogue is issued each season, giving full details and specifications of leading lines, which are recognised by the names, "York," "Bristol," "Richmond," "Canterbury," "Royal," "Paris," "London," and "Brighton" Bell. A perusal of this catalogue will at once convince that the gross prices will bear comparison with those of any other house, while the terms to all classes of buyers are equally advantageous.

B. F. Williams, Manufacturer of all kinds of Tin, Sheet Iron, Brass, Copper and Nickel Plated Goods, "Elephant" Works.  Elephant Works have been established a good number of years, and occupy a prominent position among the business concerns of Wolverhampton. They cover a large area, are well supplied with the most modern machinery and appliances. They afford constant employment for numerous hands. There is no doubt that Mr. Williams possesses exceptional facilities to meet all demands in the promptest manner, and among his numerous manufactures may be specially mentioned baths of all kinds and best finish, dish covers, meat screens, fish kettles, teapots, etc., etc. Steel travelling trunks, deed and despatch boxes, etc., are manufactured for both home and foreign markets, the foreign trade being especially large and valuable, this being a branch in which Mr. Williams turns out an enormous quantity. The "Elephant" is a registered trade mark, and bears a standard reputation in all markets, while it will be generally admitted that in each line the prices and quality will compare most favourably with those of any competitor. Mr. Williams gives the business his close supervision, and certainly no house could put forth greater efforts to retain its connection and reputation. The business of The Midland Plating Company carried on at these works is an important one, comprising as it does, nickel-plating and enamelling for the cycle trade, brass founders and locksmiths. The Company have the most modern plant for these operations, and all orders are promptly executed at most reasonable prices.


From the Illustrated Towns of England Business Review of Wolverhampton, 1897.

M. Bagnall, Patentee and Manufacturer of Trunk Handles, Fittings, Washers, Bucket Ears, etc. Manufacturer of the "Winona" Cycles and Cycle Fittings, Cable Street.

For many years Mr. M. Bagnall has been well known in Wolverhampton industrial circles as a patentee and manufacturer of trunk handles, fittings, bucket ears, washers, etc., doing an excellent and widespread trade by reason of the great utility of his inventions, and the general first-class quality of all his productions. In recent years he has added cycle and cycle fitting manufacturing to his other business.

The "Winona" is the name given to the machines made by Mr. Bagnall, and so considerable is the demand for them, that to meet the orders already in hand, for the coming season of 1897, the premises have had to be enlarged just recently. He makes both ladies' and gentlemen's safeties, juvenile safeties, racers, tricycles and tandems, which are fitted with the standard makes of tyres, gear cases, and other fittings and accessories to order. Mr. Bagnall is employing a good number of hands in the different departments of his business, and is able to execute all orders in the most prompt and satisfactory manner.

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