Has anyone ever seen a photograph of Major Taylor with an extension stem other than the popular circular tube stem? View attachment 899145
Taylor's autobiography (which reads like a personal journal) it’s a good account of the milestones in his life. Unless I missed something when reading it, there's no reference or mentioning of producing or endorsing a "stem". However, he openly admits to adopting and pioneering an existing one. View attachment 899146
The circular tube extension stem seen in many of the photographs of Major Taylor was designed and made by Bradshaw Jack, an English bike maker in 1900. It’s possible Taylor was introduced to the stem while racing in Europe? View attachment 899148
The no-slip Accles & Pollock (squared tube) stem, often called the Major Taylor stem is also British made. The company founded in 1896, originally produced steel tubing for bicycle frames. It’s possible the Englishman Bradshaw Jack sold his design and patent to A&P for production and later incorporated the no-slip diamond tubing as a "new" feature and ostensibly credited Major Taylor? (this is pure speculation on my part). View attachment 899155
This is the stamped Ankh on the bottom of my stem, I was told it's an A&P stamping, but I've never found the registered symbol. View attachment 899174
The chances of Taylor being involved with creating, restyling, or modifying the stem is highly unlikely…why? Because of his manager Louis “Birdie” Munger, the man who plucked him out of a tempestuous world of racism and made him a champion!
View attachment 899176
Munger (an ex-cycling champion) helicoptered over Taylor's career; he was so intertwined that Taylor wouldn't make a move without Munger's advice or counsel. This is germane, because if Taylor had pursued a novel bicycle "stem" rest assured Munger would have contracts drawn for Taylor to be handsomely compensated for his involvement! (Taylor did his share of product endorsements).The two were a formidable team and they benefited lucratively over the years. Plus, Munger would have promoted the hell out of Taylor’s endorsement in the newspapers and trade pubs! View attachment 899178
Louis “Birdie” Munger wasn’t just a trainer, coach and manager, he was a self-made businessman. When he wasn’t training Taylor, he was occupied with the operations and the production of some reputable wheels manufactured by his companies. View attachment 899325
Additionally, Birdie was an inventor with several US patents under his belt! He knew how to navigate the US patent operations; securing, protecting and selling ideas...after all Munger’s father worked for the US patent office and exposed Birdie to the world of inventions!
If you thought applying for a US patent was a cake walk…this read will give you a new perspective (Cycle Age 1900) View attachment 899224
Here’s the rub, Munger was also Taylor’s financial advisor – looking after the champion’s “interest”. Munger died a rich man. Its hard to imagine that Birdie wouldn't installed some safe guards for Taylor's money? A modest royalty check may have kept Taylor afloat during some rough patches...instead, three years after Birdie's death, Major Taylor died destitute and penniless!
Until there’s documented evidence that shows Taylor's involvement with an extension stem…the only conclusion that can be drawn is that while he was alive, he did not endorse or produce a stem. Everything that has been made was done so without his involvement! However the gesture of publicly connecting his name to the extension stem – and crediting him for something he pioneered and introduced to racing...is a well deserved posthumous honor!
This is a great find! Now, the question is when did Accles & Pollock first produced the stem and if MT was involved? Apparently A&P produced an expanded their range of sports and leisure equipment in the late 1940’s...not sure if the stem was introduced then? I've reached out to the Sandwell Archives in the UK, they're the historical service for the Access & Pollock Company. Hopefully, they can enlighten us to A&P's involvement and the timeline of this stem?
I received an email today from the Access & Pollock archive service in England regarding any involvement, endorsement or a relationship with the champion Major Taylor and the ankh stamping. The email sums up what I had thought...there is no documented evidence of Major Taylor's participation in the company's archives. Accles & Pollock probably used his name as a way to market their product. I doubt that the company ever had to pay for his name! Before Jan. 1, 1978, the public domain laws were more flexible and less constrained, public domain was often based on the creator's life plus a certain number of years after death. Since Taylor's first burial was in an unmarked grave...I'm guessing his estate or any Major Taylor entity during the time ever protested the usage of his name? View attachment 904462
I don't think that the Sandwell Archives put too much effort into their research for you @fordsnake.
I've just found this advert from 1927, stating that the 'Ankh' is a trademark. It wasn't mentioned in a similar advert from 1922 however.
I also discovered that Accles and Pollock were only in existence as a company from 1901 onwards.
From July 1927.....
...when they registered it as a trademark is still open to question.
More digging required.
On my post above (#41), the first pic of the stem has that same OT type stamp on the bottom. The second picture, it is very difficult to make out but it says A&P made in England. I would assume yours is probably an A&P
As the 'Ankh' is basically an 'O' atop a 'T', it wouldn't be remiss to think that yours is a slight error in the hand stamping process.
Also, in the advert you posted, just above the "Major Taylor" stem it mentions 'Kromo' tubing.
'Kromo' was A.& P's own brand of tubing.....
...by 1970 A.& P. was still part of the T.I. group.
Here's another ad from 1926, which pushes the use of the 'Ankh' definitely another year earlier.....