Wulfruna Bicycles


Wulfruna Cycles was started by John Barratt in St John's Square. This advert dates from 1886. An 'Onward' advert of the same date carries an identical drawing of the safety machine. So that John Barratt may have made machines for other manufacturers.
John Barratt in 1897.
The following is from an 1897 Wolverhampton trade directory:

John Barratt, Manufacturer of the "Wulfruna" Cycles, Wulfruna Cycle Works, Melbourne Street.

Among the names most prominently identified with the growth of the cycle trade in Wolverhampton there is none better known than that of Mr. John Barratt, manufacturer of the celebrated "Wulfruna" Cycles, which justly hold a pre-eminent position both at home and abroad.

For the last twenty years Mr. Barratt has been engaged in this branch of industry, and no manufacturer has done more to uphold the reputation of the town for high-class productions. His business has grown at a steady and substantial pace, and is now accounted among the largest and most influential of its character in the district.. In this instance success has been thoroughly well deserved, for exceptional skill has been allied to the most enterprising and honourable methods of trading.

The great demand for "Wulfruna" machines during the season of 1896 sorely taxed Mr. Barratt's productive facilities, but with characteristic foresight he has taken steps during the quiet winter period to obviate this difficulty with regard to the approaching season, by the addition of two large building shops, a magnificent machine shop, and new finishing, plating and enamelling shops; the premises now covering a large area of ground between Melbourne Street and Lever Street, and being equipped throughout with the most improved English and American automatic machinery and labour-saving appliances.

The various manufacturing departments are conveniently arranged to ensure economy of time and production, and each is under the constant supervision of skilful and trustworthy foremen. Upwards of three hundred hands are employed, and a pleasing feature is the good feeling that always exists between proprietor and workmen. The productions include ladies' and gentlemen's, girls' and youths' safeties, tricycles, and tandems, fitted with the best rims, tyres, and gear cases to order; saddles by the celebrated firm of Messrs. Lamplugh and Co. For beauty of design, light running and finish, speed and durability, the "Wulfruna" machines stand in the very front rank, as hundreds of unsolicited testimonials from capable riders and many flattering press notices - British and foreign - will testify.

The 1897 " Wulfrunas " will be thoroughly up-to-date, and show improvement upon those of preceding years, and we strongly advise intending purchasers to send to Mr. Barratt for one of his illustrated price lists before buying elsewhere. It contains all particulars and specifications, prices, etc. We cannot better conclude this review of one of Wolverhampton's chief cycle factories than by wishing the respected proprietor a continuance of the success he has thus far enjoyed, and so thoroughly deserved. - Telegraphic Address: " Wulfruna, Wolverhampton." Telephone No. 7137.

The following is a short description of the Wulfruna No. 7 from "Bicycles & Tricycles of the Year 1889" by Harry Hewitt Griffin:

"The Wulfruna. No.7 Dwarf Safety Light Roadster (J. D. Barratt, Wulfruna Works, St. John's Square, Wolverhampton). A very good braced diamond frame is formed by, at the back, three sets of double tubes - i.e., the upper and lower rear forks, together with double stays from crank bearing bracket to the boss which forms the union joint connecting the five tubes, the odd one being the single tube to the centres; the corresponding lower tube is also single, and the centres pin, which both join, is extra long, and, the lugs holding it being very firm, the whole machine, though very light, is exceedingly rigid.

A neat but very slight curve is given to the front forks, and there is an extra long spoon to the direct link plunger brake. Tangent spokes are put to the 30in. wheels, which have in. rubbers. Adjustment is made by slots in the rear fork ends, regulated by a set screw. The machine makes a capital mount for light road-work. With balls all parts, nicely
enamelled and electro-plated, the list price is £14. The weight is only about 30lb."

The book also contains the following description of a Wulfruna tricycle:

"The Wulfruna Direct Steering Roadster (John Barratt, St. John's Square, Wolverhampton). This machine has a strong, well-stayed frame, the lower part of the 'V' pattern, but with a connecting stay between the seat-pillar top and the steering centres. Four sets of Aeolus ball bearings connect the straight tubular bridge and the axle; the front forks are weldless steel tube, and the brake is a direct plunger, of great strength.

Chain adjustment is effected by sliding down the bracket. Detachable cranks and Bown's square, rubber, Victor ball pedals are used. It is a good machine, at a very low price; indeed, it is worth quite as much as some for which £5 or £6 more are asked. Standard size, 36in. drivers, 28in. pilot wheels, geared to 58in. Choice is given of either ¾in. or in. tyres. When a lady uses the machine, the upper stay is easily removable. Net price, enamelled, part plated, balls all over, £18."

A 'Wulfruna' bicycle from 1897
The Wulfruna badge on Peter Hällström's bicycle.

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