Identifying old Coventry bicycle


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dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,560
3,811
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Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#2
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.
 

sarahjane412

On Training Wheels
Apr 17, 2018
8
7
52
York, UK
#3
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.
 

sarahjane412

On Training Wheels
Apr 17, 2018
8
7
52
York, UK
#5
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
 

Craig Allen

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jun 23, 2016
110
238
64
Millville NJ
#6
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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dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,560
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52
Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#7
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".
 

sarahjane412

On Training Wheels
Apr 17, 2018
8
7
52
York, UK
#8
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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dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,560
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Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#9
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.
 

sarahjane412

On Training Wheels
Apr 17, 2018
8
7
52
York, UK
#10
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.
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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dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,560
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Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#12
It looks very similar to a Humber
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.
 

dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,560
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Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#14
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.
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!
 

dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,560
3,811
52
Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#15
1895 Sunbeam, also from Wolverhampton, getting close I think.....
wp_ss_20180418_0001.png
 

sarahjane412

On Training Wheels
Apr 17, 2018
8
7
52
York, UK
#17
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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dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,560
3,811
52
Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#18
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?
 

Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
2,676
620
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
#19
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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sarahjane412

On Training Wheels
Apr 17, 2018
8
7
52
York, UK
#20
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.
 

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