Identifying old Coventry bicycle

Discussion in 'Antique Bicycles Pre-1933' started by sarahjane412, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. #1 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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    Attached is a photo of my great granddad Harry with his bike. It was taken around 1900-1910 in Coventry. Can anyone identify the make of bicycle? Any help and information would be much appreciated.

    scan0002.jpg
     
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  2. #2 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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    Welcome to the Cabe.
    Fantastic photo of Harry, I would say that the bicycle is possibly a little earlier than the age range you quoted.
    Unfortunately I can't quite make out the monogram/design on the chaincase but I'll do a little digging online.
    Someone on here may have seen it before.
     
  3. #3 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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    Thanks for replying! Harry died in 1910 when he was only in his mid 30s so I was totally guessing a date for the photo.
     
  4. #4 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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  5. #5 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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    Great resource! There is a Coventry Challenge No 2 Road Racer in the 1906 catalogue that looks very similar in design - though without a chain case. It's shame Harry couldn't have posed with the bike at an angle so that we could see the badge
     
  6. #6 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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    With the cotter through the crank which was a holdover from the highwheel era, I would say the photo is more likely 1892-1894. The chain case is evidently a sealed arrangement judging from the good size oiler on top.
     
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  7. #7 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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    What was Harrys surname?
    I'm seeing "H.R" in that monogram.
    Looks very similar to the 1895/6 Rudge, Wedge & Co. gents model in the V-CC Library, with a chain case added.....
    rudge_wedge_1895_vcc_library.jpg
    Different handlebars, though perhaps Harry was a bit of a "scorcher".
     
  8. #8 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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    Harry Rubery! Looks like it was a personal monogram then. Now you've pointed it out I can see the R clearly
    I've just found out from my dad (Harry's grandson) that Harry used to race at the Rover Stadium which is now the Butts Stadium in Coventry. Hence the 'race' type handlebars?
     
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  9. #9 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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    Interesting, also looks very similar to Rover bicycles of that era, they also used similar chain cases.
    I know someone who collects Rovers and I may see him at an event on Sunday, I'll ask him about it.
    He doesn't use the internet so I can't email him unfortunately.
     
  10. #10 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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    Thanks so much for all your help. I have sort of promised my dad that I'll find out whatever I can! (he also doesn't use the internet)

    Just looked up some more about Rudge, Wedge & Co, and its interesting that they were Wolverhampton based as Harry was born in Willenhall between Wolverhampton & Walsall & his wife was from Coventry so has close connections with both places.
     
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  11. #11 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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    It looks very similar to a Humber
     
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  12. #12 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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    You're right, the more you dig into those online catalogues, the more sameness between manufacturers becomes apparent; no different to todays offerings from current marques.
    I feel that large oiler on the chain case may be a crucial clue.
     
  13. #13 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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    Looks like a Humber decal on steering tube
     
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  14. #14 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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    You're welcome @sarahjane412, that part of the world was pretty much the centre of cycle manufacturing in England for many decades.
    If Harry raced in Coventry you could try trawling through local newspaper reports that may mention him. Cycle racing was a very popular sport that drew large crowds. It's a long shot but you may get lucky!
     
  15. #15 Posted Apr 17, 2018

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    1895 Sunbeam, also from Wolverhampton, getting close I think..... wp_ss_20180418_0001.png
     
  16. #16 Posted Apr 18, 2018

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    That Sunbeam does look the closest I've seen so far!
     
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  17. #17 Posted Apr 24, 2018

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    Just reporting back with a possible breakthrough.
    Clipping from the Cheltenham Chronicle, 16 September 1899 below. There are quite a few catalogues from the Coventry Centaur Cycle company in the Veteran Cycle Club Library & the Road Racer looks pretty close!

    Cheltenham Chronicle 16 September 1899.JPG



    Centaur 1899 Catalogue.JPG
     
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  18. #18 Posted Apr 24, 2018

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    Close! Still missing that large oiler on the chain case though.
    Apparently there were more than a few hundred manufacturers in that part of the midlands in Harrys time.
    Anyone else got any ideas?
     
  19. #19 Posted Apr 24, 2018

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    Getting closer! I think you can narrow down the search to "Road Racer" models. The Centaur chaincase is different, but the chaincase on Harry's bike is probably the most identifiable feature.
     
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  20. #20 Posted Apr 24, 2018

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    Yes, that oiler on top isn't like any others I've found. They all seem so far to have the refill hole at the back of the case like the Sunbeam.