Irish made Bicycles


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filmonger

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Dec 25, 2010
4,868
5,475
Dublin, Ireland
#1
I am going to post some historical information on bicycles made specifically in Ireland. Thre are not many brands and there may be some crossover to the British manufacturers. But the Focus here is that of those made on the island of Ireland and not the UK.

This Information is direct from HistoryIreland.com and Wikipedia.

Lets start with Pierce & Co. also known as the Pierce Bicycle Works. ( Nothing to do with the Pierce bicycle made in Buffalo USA )

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Pierce’s, the largest and most influential of Wexford’s foundries.

The Pierce Plough Foundry or Pierce Bicycle Works operated between 1903-41 on the site of the earlier Bishop.s Water Distillery complex (opened 1827). The bicycles were produced there for about 10 years. Pirce bicycles are remembered mainly because Micheal Collin's ( negotiator of the Ango-Irish Treaty and Commander- in- Chief of the Free State Army until 1922 ) favourite mode of transport was a Pierce bicycle.

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The company was founded by James Pierce (1813-68) in 1839. The Pierce Ironworks Foundry and was developed by his brothers Phillip (1850-95), Martin (d.1907) and John (d. 1926). At one time they were the largest engineering & agriculture manufacturer in the country of Ireland. They also had offices in Paris and Buenos Aires.

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We believed these are Mr and Mrs Philip B. Pierce. This is their Rolls-Royce. The photo may have been taken on 5 June 1946 at Park House somewhere in the South East of Ireland. Park House had extensive grounds including the tower we can see, and perhaps a lake too...

At Pierce’s in Wexford, iron manufacture and casting dated from the early 1800s. By the 1800s, they had won gold medals in Dublin, Cork and Paris, with machinery exported to the British colonies and to Argentina.

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They were famous for the quality of their Agriculture machinery & goods

Men employed at Pierce’s complained of low wages, lacked job security and worked long hours. They had no representation in trade negotiations as employers distributed profits amongst family and friends before fixing the terms of payment amongst the 400-strong workforce. In 1890 a two-day strike, with the Pierce workforce joined by workers from two other Wexford foundries, led to the formation of the Wexford Fitters and Turners Society.

By 1911, labour unrest across the Union and across Europe spread to workforces. Workers from Pierce’s and two other foundries applied to join the ITGWU. Four hundred workers were locked out from Pierce’s, and similar numbers from two other foundries in the town. This was part of the infamous "Lock-Out" when they sought to prevent workers from joining the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU). Other foundries soon joined Pierce by locking out their employees. this lead to a series of pickets and protests that were not resolved until Feb. of the following year. The strike lasted six months.

The Wexford lockout was not merely a struggle between employers and workers; it also brought into sharp focus the visceral opposition of the Catholic Church to trade unionism in Ireland, the violent approach taken by the police authorities towards ordinary workers in the town and the distance between urban workers and their national representatives, the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP), who were safely ensconced over in Westminster. The struggle was not over pay or conditions; rather it was over the right of workers to combine under the banner of the Larkinite vehicle the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU). This lockout was the biggest and most volatile since disturbances in Belfast in 1907 and was only eclipsed in size by the events in Dublin in 1913.

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Scab labour being escorted to work in Pierce’s foundry by RIC constables in King Street, Wexford. (Alice White)

Industrial unrest in Europe, and particularly in Britain, had its own impact. The geographical location of the town meant that there were regular sailings to Wales and Liverpool, and news of industrial strife was obtained either from brief articles in the local newspapers or from the first-hand accounts of seasonal migrants. What workers took most notice of, however, was the inception of James Larkin’s ITGWU. Larkin offered the idea of one all-embracing union for skilled and unskilled workers.

Larkin launched his newspaper, the Irish Worker, in June 1911, and its circulation grew rapidly. It carried news of the union’s activities in Dundalk in August, and the ITGWU, along with Larkin’s strong personality, attracted much interest. When the ITGWU offices opened in Charlotte Street in Wexford town that month, working men promptly attended to sign up for membership. For employers, this represented a direct challenge. What concerned them most was the Larkinite tactic of syndicalism, essentially giving the ITGWU the potential to sabotage employer hegemony and disturb trade in the town. Larkin’s union had to be destroyed in its embryo stage in Wexford.

For the workers, the idea of combining the skilled and unskilled gave them both a sense of protection and a fraternal identity. Local government nurtured councillors with links and sympathies to the IPP, but the national party had done little to help improve the squalid conditions in which many workers and their families lived. Beyond the creaking goal of Home Rule, it had little in its programme for urban workers in Wexford. As the vast majority of workers had no vote for national candidates until the Reform Act of 1918, the ITGWU was identified as the vehicle that could best serve the interests of the workers. Larkin and his leadership were closer to the workers in mannerisms and attitudes; many were tradesmen or dock workers themselves. Unlike John Redmond, the IPP leader, they were not hewn from the oak of Clongowes Wood College or other similar institutions, whose students were groomed for participation in the imperial civil service. The ITGWU appeared the agency that best represented Irish urban workers. Rather than demanding improvements in pay or work conditions, what the Wexford workers wanted was the right to combine.

As Wexford town workers enlisted in the ITGWU, it was the foundry employers who took the decisive action of refusing to allow union members entry into their plants. Doyle’s Selskar Ironworks were the first to lock out their men on Monday 10 August 1911. A little over a fortnight later, Pierce’s locked out close to 400 men, while the Hearns, proprietors of Wexford Engineering, locked out nearly 200 men on 29 August. The actions of the foundries during this month encouraged other employers to follow suit. Thompson Engineering refused to accept ITGWU men onto their floor, while the town mayor, Howard Rowe, owner of a flour mill on Spawell Road, did the same. Almost 700 foundry men alone were out of work, which had a direct impact on the lives of over 3,000 townspeople. The employers had shown their strength and had drawn clear demarcation lines. The ITGWU was not welcome in Wexford. With no alternative source of income, the workers could only stay out for a short time before necessity would force a humble return, minus any union card.

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Above: Some of the extra RIC constables brought in from counties Tipperary, Waterford, Carlow and Kilkenny relaxing and enjoying a beer. Back row (l–r), Constables Hobbs, Kennedy, Quirke, Gleeson and McAtarsney; second row, Constables McGosham, Moore, Gordon, Johnston, Donovan, Byrne and Keenan; third row, Constables O’Grady, Kelly, Carney, Lennane and Martin; reclining, Constables Glennon and Campbell. The two local boys are the Thomas brothers. (Information and photo supplied by Nicholas Furlong)

T
. Daly was the ITGWU agent who was dispatched to rally the Wexford workers. Arriving on 21 August, his task was to convince the workers of their right to combine while at the same time to assure them of financial aid from union funds. Daly regularly addressed large gatherings of locked-out workers in the Faythe area in the southern part of the town, and as he stirred their passions the resulting mood convinced the local RIC superintendent to draft in extra police from counties Tipperary, Waterford, Carlow and Kilkenny. These extra RIC men were tasked with escorting the blackleg workers who were recruited by the employers to fill the jobs of the locked-out local men to and from the foundries each day.

This hard-line approach taken by the employers and visibly supported by the police authorities infuriated Daly and the workers. Violence was inevitable. The initial anger of the workers was directed towards the RIC and the management of the foundries. When 150 extra police arrived in September, they were greeted by a jeering crowd and a volley of stones. A baton charge immediately followed, and fighting spread to Gibson Street and Allen Street. RIC men who tried to make arrests were quickly attacked and mauled by irate workers. Some policemen took to hiding in local shops to avoid personal injury. Even local women joined in the violence, the entertainment being to forcibly relieve a constable of his hat and baton. In these early confrontations over twenty civilians were injured. Some required surgery; James Bolger was tended in his home by Dr Hadden, as the severity of his injuries prevented his removal to the infirmary. Patrick O’Connor underwent a life-saving operation for a fracture to his skull. Over the course of the dispute, middle management of the foundries were often attacked, as they helped to ensure that blacklegs manufactured orders and as such undermined the local skilled men. Attacks included being assaulted on the way home from work, being intimidated by lurking groups of men or having the windows of their home smashed. One such figure, John Keating, had to watch helplessly from his house as angry workers burned his effigy outside. The RIC regularly arrested workers who heckled or intimidated; the offender was usually allowed home after a night in a cell.

The most serious incident occurred in September, when Michael O’Leary, on his way to buy groceries, got caught up in a baton charge on Bride Street between workers and the police. He received repeated blows to his head and died from his injuries five days later. In an inquiry into O’Leary’s death, it was discovered that Thomas Whitney, an eight-year-old boy, had also been struck on the head with a baton. The polarising impact of the lockout was made even clearer in November, when the union representative P.T. Daly was set upon and assaulted by a local businessman, Robert Belton. Requiring medical treatment, Daly went to the local infirmary, where the medical staff refused to treat him. Belton was subsequently fined by the courts for his actions.

The workers were continuously antagonised by the presence of blacklegs in their town. While some of these men were recruited from nearby rural areas of Bridgetown and Curracloe, others were brought down from Dublin and Carlow. More came from Scotland, Manchester, Leeds and the greater Birmingham area. The determination of the employers manifested itself in the placing of attractive advertisements for skilled tradesmen in English newspapers such as the Yorkshire Post. The wages offered to these men were higher than those previously paid to the Wexford skilled tradesmen. In addition, the Pierce Company accommodated blacklegs in a property they owned on the South Main Street. As they were based in the town itself, the blacklegs proved to be a provocative presence and did little to temper agitation. As the threat of poverty loomed for the workers, the mood remained black throughout the winter.

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The funeral of Michael O’Leary on North Main Street, Wexford, in September 1911. O’Leary got caught up in a baton charge on Bride Street between workers and the police. He received repeated blows to his head and died from his injuries five days later. (O’Leary family)


With the imprisonment of P.T. Daly in January 1912 upon being convicted of intent to incite a riot, it was possible for the employers to sense victory. James Connolly arrived in the town in early February and stayed in the home of Richard Corish in William Street, where he tried to find a settlement. Corish was a fitter from Wexford Engineering and a committed socialist. Active during the lockout in fund-raising and cajoling men, he was also earlier arrested by the RIC for harassing blacklegs. It was from Corish that Connolly learned the mood of the men and the different views in the town. Within two weeks of Connolly’s arrival a settlement was achieved.

Connolly is often lauded for bringing the dispute to an end, but although his presence was more agreeable to the employers than that of Daly or Larkin, other factors are revealing. The tactic of using blacklegs was failing; many men brought to the town, particularly from England, were uncomfortable about depriving locked-out tradesmen of their income. The atmosphere was tense and intimidation was a daily occurrence. Departures led to a constant interruption in the manufacturing process. In addition, spring was the busiest season for the foundries, with large orders for agricultural machinery to be filled. Fearing the loss of business to foreign competition, the employers put profit before pride.

The settlement allowed for the formation of the Irish Foundry Workers’ Union as an associate of the ITGWU. The foundry men, skilled and unskilled, could combine and return to work—all except for Richard Corish, who was blacklisted by the employers on account of his efforts during the lockout. Corish appears to have been the sacrificial lamb necessary to achieve the compromise. His career as a skilled tradesman was over and instead he took up the job of secretary of the Irish Foundry Workers’ Union, albeit without a regular income.

A victory celebration was held in the Faythe on the night of 17 February and over 5,000 people gathered to cheer James Connolly and the steadfastness of the workers. The victory may not have appeared large to the neutral observer, but what it symbolised was something of great significance. The voices of the Wexford foundry men were heard despite the objections from the pulpit, the wielded baton, the political cold shoulders and the alien scabs. The Wexford lockout marked a victory for workers over the established pillars of Irish society. HI

Kieran S. Roche teaches history in St Gerard’s School, Bray, Co. Wicklow.

Letter to Pierce....1901
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At the moment I do not have a picture of an Irish produce Pierce bicycle - but will have on to display soon.
 
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filmonger

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Dec 25, 2010
4,868
5,475
Dublin, Ireland
#2
The second brand of Irish made bicycles is that of the Lucania bicycle.

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Lucania bicycles were made at the South King Street building by John O'Neill's workers, pictured above. They were built at a small engineering premises in the 1890s and were thought to be of superior quality, though their production in Dublin was not vast in numbers. In 1913 a bicycle would have cost about £12.

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Workshop Dept's at O'Nei
l's

Most of this information has been obtained DIRECTLY from historyireland,com and Wikipedia.

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The Lucania bicycle works in South King Street, Dublin. (Michael Walker Jnr)

Lucania bicycles were manufactured by John O’Neill at the Lucania works in South King Street, Dublin. An advertisement for the Lucania in a 1911 edition of Sinn Féin carried the information also that the company had won a contract to supply the Post Office with 400 delivery bicycles. Following the Stockholm race, Sinn Féin quoted a letter from one of the Irish participants, detailing the very difficult conditions with which the cyclists (and bicycles) had dealt and reinforcing the ‘buy Irish’ message quite forcefully. At no point did the issue of where the cyclists had been placed in the race come into the equation:

‘None of us had the slightest trouble with our machines, although we had several bad falls, and I can tell you that numerous of our competitors’ machines broke in two and forks, etc., gave way during the course of the race, and as we were the only team who had no spare machines, our machines had to bear very close scrutiny from the other competitors, both native and foreign, who seemed surprised at the confidence we expressed in the ability of our machines to get through without any trouble. The result justified our confidence.’



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Michael Walker, the top finisher of the six-man cycling team who represented ‘Ireland’ at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, posing with his Lucania bicycle and the commemorative certificate presented for finishing the race, this one to his brother, John. (Michael Walker Jnr)

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The Irish cycling team relaxing on board the Saga, crossing the North Sea en route to Stockholm in 1912 (Michael Walker is second from left)

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on their return proudly wearing their ICA jerseys with giant shamrock emblems. (Michael Walker Jnr)

In 1912, two young Irish lads were getting ready to give their all for Ireland at the Olympic Games which were being held in Sweden. They were the Walker brothers, Michael and John.

Not only did these two brothers represent Ireland at the Olympics, they also put their lives on the line four years after the Olympics, when they once again took to their bikes, riding dispatch around Dublin during the Rising of 1916.

Michael and John had to overcome many obstacles in order to get ready for the games which were being held in Stockholm. Most Irish Olympians were either representatives of adopted homelands, like the USA or the Commonwealth dominions.

Since its foundation in 1906, the British Olympic Association only accepted membership or pro-British political views, and as a rule, the BOA did everything it could to prevent Irish people from representing ‘Ireland’ at any Olympic Games. They preferred instead that they would form part of a ‘Great Britain and Ireland’ team.

In 1911, the Irish Amateur Athletic Association sought separate representation at the Olympic Games, and in 1912, a very rare exception occurred, when the BOA allowed separate cycling teams from Ireland and Scotland take part in Stockholm. The reason for this was believed to be that cycling teams from these countries were unlikely threats to ‘Great Britain’ either in sporting or political terms.

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Three Irish sports bodies affiliated to the BOA

The three Irish sports bodies that were affiliated to the BOA were the Irish Amateur Athletic Association (IAAA), the Irish Cyclists Association (ICA) and the Irish Amateur Swimming Association. No Welsh organisations were included but both the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association and the Scottish Cyclists’ Union were listed. Of the nations within the then United Kingdom, even these moderately political Irish sporting bodies were invariably the ones who most sought separate representation at the Olympic Games. The BOA minutes record, for example, on 25 April 1911, receipt of a letter from the Irish Amateur Athletic Association:

‘That the time has now come when the BOA as at present formed should be dissolved, and that the British representatives on the International Olympic Committee should endeavour to obtain separate representation for England, Scotland and Ireland on the committee’.
The BOA rejected the efforts of the IAAA to achieve this or any other form of separate Olympic identity in athletics, not least because the Irish athletes were at that time among the very best weight-throwers and jumpers in the world, not just likely to be on a possible Great Britain and Ireland team for the Stockholm Olympics. A very rare exception to this position occurred in 1912, when an Irish Cyclists Association team of six represented ‘Ireland’ at the Stockholm Games. That the BOA did, ultimately, accede to the push for separate Irish and Scottish cycling teams in Stockholm was mainly because separate cycling teams from these countries were unlikely threats to ‘Great Britain’, either in sporting or in political terms.

Separate Irish cycling team for Stockholm allowed

In the end, the BOA minutes show that a separate Irish cycling team for the Stockholm Games was allowed and was supported financially too. A meeting of the BOA on 28 November 1911 reported that:
‘. . . it had been intimated that the Irish Cyclists Association would probably desire to enter a team, and Mr Blair explained that the regulations permitted the entry of teams from England, Scotland and Ireland’.
Some months later, the committee had a further application before it from the Scottish Cyclists’ Union and recommended that the BOA defray the expenses of four Scottish and four Irish competitors, leaving the cycling associations of these countries to provide for any further competitors that they wished to send. The minutes of 16 April 1912 made it clear that the ICA had made an application for such support prior to this, even asking whether the money would be conditional on the ICA’s finding additional funds to make up a full squad of six cyclists, i.e. funding two from their own resources:
‘It was agreed that the grant should be unconditional, but that it should be suggested to the ICA that if at the eliminating trials the team were found to be not likely to do so well as the ICA had expected, it might be well to send only two or three competitors to take part in the individual competition’.

Swedish organisers taken by surprise

There is no further explanation in the BOA minutes concerning the association’s decision to support separate English, Irish and Scottish cycling teams for Stockholm. In the end, six ICA cyclists did compete in Stockholm, with the BOA apparently absorbing some of the additional costs. They travelled on a ferry across the North Sea and the remarkable photographic records of one of the six, Michael Walker, show the team relaxing on deck and, in a photo on their return, proudly wearing giant shamrock emblems. More remarkably, the Swedish organisers were taken completely by surprise, it appears, by the arrival of three separate cycling teams when in every other event, as per the BOA’s own regulations, Great Britain had only one recognised team. Quite clearly, the BOA’s interpretation of the rules allowing three different cycling teams from the United Kingdom to participate in the games was not shared by other countries. On the day before the cycling road race, France lodged an objection to what it, and many other nations, regarded as a clear breach of the rules on national representation. The cycling committee noted in the Official Olympic Report for 1912 that they
‘. . . regretted that this concession had been made, but declared at the same time that, as the teams from the countries in question had come to Sweden to take part in the event, the Swedish Cycling Committee did not wish to prevent them from doing so, and that the Swedish Cycling Association intended to take the responsibility for their so doing on its own shoulders, should any steps be taken in the matter by the Union Cycliste Internationale’.

Race an endurance test

The cyclists started individually at two-minute intervals, from 2am onwards, and the first Irish cyclist home took over twelve and a half hours to finish. The Irish were unfortunate in that the first Irish cyclist did not start until the 41st time-slot on the schedule, at 3.20am, by which time the weather had turned very much for the worse, with a strong westerly wind blowing directly into the faces of the later starters. The eventual winner, Rudolph Lewis of South Africa, had been the second rider off and clearly benefited from the better conditions early on.The highest-placed Irish cyclist was Michael Walker, in 67th place, with the other five team members occupying places in the last twenty of a total of 91 finishers. Following Walker were Francis Guy (71st), Ralph Mecredy (80th), John Walker (81st), Matthew Walsh (82nd) and Bernard Doyle (85th). This left Ireland with a team position, based on the first four riders home, of eleventh. (Mecredy, by the way, is widely credited with being the inventor of ‘bicycle polo’, and was on the Irish team that beat Germany 3–1 in an exhibition game at the London Olympics in 1908.)The Stockholm race was an endurance test beyond belief. In addition to the 29 who dropped out, 28 riders did not even start the race, at least some of them baulking at the conditions and hardship of the terrain, while only the first three home did so in less than eleven hours. The Irish achievement here was considerable. Their level of support could not have been anywhere near that of other teams, as subsequent correspondence shows that they did not even have spare bicycles if and when anything went wrong en route. All six Irish cyclists finished the race, which is put in perspective by the fact that four of the twelve Swedes failed to finish, even though Sweden won gold, and two of the second-placed England team did not finish either. Only one of the ten Russian competitors in the race actually finished at all, and Ireland’s scoring cyclists meant that our placing was above Hungary, Bohemia, Norway and Russia. So this was no mean achievement, especially for a group of cyclists who, politically, had had to overcome difficulties both within the BOA and in Sweden to be even allowed to participate. After the race, the organisers decided to award special diplomas of merit to the cyclists who had finished within 25% of the winner’s time, resulting in the first four Irish cyclists receiving this additional recognition.

Focus on the bicycles rather than the cyclists

The decline in the fortunes of Irish athletics, even in the four years since London, is mirrored in the decreased coverage of the Stockholm Olympics by the Irish media. The nationalist newspaper Sinn Féin was reduced to a few short paragraphs bemoaning the fact that Irishmen continued to be victorious but only as representatives of foreign states. In fact, the main focus of editor Arthur Griffith’s attention on Stockholm was the opportunity, in its 20 July 1912 edition, to reinforce one of the Sinn Féin party’s central tenets, its buy-Irish campaign, using the aforementioned cyclists:
‘One remarkable record comes to Ireland. In the long distance (team) cycle race, the only team all of whose members finished was the Irish team. Two thirds of its members were mounted on Lucania bicycles—bicycles completely manufactured in Dublin. The riders of the Lucania raced on them for twelve hours in competition with the world . . . In the case of every other team most of the riders had to change bicycles during the progress of the race. The Irish Lucania bicycle had thus made a world’s record. And still in the city in which it is manufactured twenty foreign and inferior machines are purchased to every one of the Irish machines, which beat the world at Stockholm. What slaves and what fools to our own interests we continue to be.’
This marvellous vote of confidence in Irish manufacture, of course, disguised the fact that the Irish cyclists had not been able to bring spare bikes or parts with them in the first place, thus necessitating the repair of their own machines as difficulties arose. It was an interesting final political twist to this particular Irish/Viking saga, but nothing should obscure the magnificent efforts of these intrepid men on two wheels to represent Ireland at a time when Ireland was not recognised in either British, Olympic or world sport.

Kevin McCarthy holds a Ph.D in history from University College Cork.

Some Interesting facts about the Swedish 1912 cycling race.

Only one cycling race was held at the 1912 Olympics. The Swedish Olympic Committee actually attempted to eliminate cycling altogether. No track races were planned, although at the 11th IOC Session in Luxembourg (11-13 June 1910), the British protested this decision but no change was made. The track races were eliminated because the only velodrome in Stockholm was being destroyed to make room for the new Olympic Stadium, and there were no plans to build a new one, even with the advent of the Olympic Games.

At the 12th Session (Budapest, 23-27 May 1911), the Swedes noted that they wanted to eliminate the road race as well. Britain's [Robert de Courcy Laffan] insisted that a competition of at least 100 km. should be held. Sweden's [Viktor Gustaf Balck] noted that, )our roads are so bad that it is impossible to organise such a race.) But eventually the Swedish Olympic Committee capitulated, and elected to hold it on the course for the Mälaren Rundt (Tour of Lake Mälaren), the most popular road race in Sweden. The Mälaren Rundt was first held in 1892 and 1893, and then again yearly after 1901.

The race was a very long (315.385 km. [196.0 miles]) time trial on the roads around Lake Mälaren. Lake Mälaren is a huge lake formed by a former inlet of the Baltic Sea. Stockholm was originally built on several islands in the outlet of Lake Mälaren into the Baltic Sea, in order to guard the Lake from foreign naval invasion. An individual and team competition was decided based on this single race. The event also holds the distinction of starting at the earliest time of any Olympic event ever - 2 AM (0200).

The cycling road race was noteworthy because England, Scotland, and Ireland were allowed to enter teams of riders as individual nations, rather than as one combined team representing Great Britain. It is uncertain why this decision was made. However, on the day before the event, 6 July, France protested this ruling. The ruling was discussed all day, and that evening, the Committee for Cycling announced that the three nations would be allowed to compete separately. The Cycling Committee noted that they "... regretted that this concession had been made, but declared at the same time that, as the teams from the countries in question had come to Sweden to take part in the event, the Swedish Cycling Committee did not wish to prevent them from doing so, and that the Swedish Cycling Association intended to take the responsibility for their so doing on its own shoulders, should any steps be taken in the matter by the Union Cycliste Internationale."

In addition to the Olympic medals, several cities along the route of the road course donated special prizes. The cycling awards ceremony was separate from the events in the stadium and took place on Monday, 9 July, at Restaurant Hasslebacken, where the awards were distributed by the President of the Cycling Committee, Gösta Drake af Hagelsrum. The special awards given were as follows: Memorial Cup of Eskilstuna - winner of the race - [Rudolph Lewis] (RSA); Memorial Cup of Västerås - top Swedish cyclist - [Erik Friborg]; Memorial Cup of Enköping - best rider between Enköping and the Olympic Stadium - [Leon Meredith] (GBR); Memorial Cup of Mariefred - given to cyclist who ride well but did not win a medal - [Frank Brown] (CAN); Silver Cup of Sundsvalls Velocipedklubb - winner of the team race - Sweden; and Memorial Cup of Köping - team with most participants finishing - Germany.






 
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dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,582
3,881
52
Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#3
Are there many surviving examples?
I've never seen one over here, would be interesting to find a ladies model, my girlfriend might actually ride one of those.
She's very proud of the fact that her dad's a Kerry man.
 
Likes: bikejunk

filmonger

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Dec 25, 2010
4,868
5,475
Dublin, Ireland
#6
Not so Carlitos..... Neither the Pierce or the Lucania were BSA parts. These were Irish manufactured and you must remember during this time that the English were not favoured - as you will note with the Olympic riders of the Lucania taking part in the 1916 uprising.
 

filmonger

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Dec 25, 2010
4,868
5,475
Dublin, Ireland
#7
Went to the Irish Agriculture Museum at Johnstown Castle today where I took a few photos of a couple of these Irish Pierce bicycles. The first being a 1903 Gents bicycle. Heavy-Duty, Double-Barred bicycle. Marketed by Pierce & Co as a Service Cycle for Heavy Riders. This is similar to the bike presented to Micheal Collins.

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bikejunk

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Nov 1, 2014
509
147
55
passaic NJ
#11
So no badges on the pierce bicycles ? did they originally have transfers on the head-stocks ? thank you for posting this
 
Likes: filmonger

I miss that R string

On Training Wheels
Feb 6, 2018
8
15
41
northern ireland
#13
The second brand of Irish made bicycles is that of the Lucania bicycle.

View attachment 746676

Lucania bicycles were made at the South King Street building by John O'Neill's workers, pictured above. They were built at a small engineering premises in the 1890s and were thought to be of superior quality, though their production in Dublin was not vast in numbers. In 1913 a bicycle would have cost about £12.

View attachment 746683

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Workshop Dept's at O'Nei
l's

Most of this information has been obtained DIRECTLY from historyireland,com and Wikipedia.

View attachment 746678

The Lucania bicycle works in South King Street, Dublin. (Michael Walker Jnr)

Lucania bicycles were manufactured by John O’Neill at the Lucania works in South King Street, Dublin. An advertisement for the Lucania in a 1911 edition of Sinn Féin carried the information also that the company had won a contract to supply the Post Office with 400 delivery bicycles. Following the Stockholm race, Sinn Féin quoted a letter from one of the Irish participants, detailing the very difficult conditions with which the cyclists (and bicycles) had dealt and reinforcing the ‘buy Irish’ message quite forcefully. At no point did the issue of where the cyclists had been placed in the race come into the equation:

‘None of us had the slightest trouble with our machines, although we had several bad falls, and I can tell you that numerous of our competitors’ machines broke in two and forks, etc., gave way during the course of the race, and as we were the only team who had no spare machines, our machines had to bear very close scrutiny from the other competitors, both native and foreign, who seemed surprised at the confidence we expressed in the ability of our machines to get through without any trouble. The result justified our confidence.’



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Michael Walker, the top finisher of the six-man cycling team who represented ‘Ireland’ at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, posing with his Lucania bicycle and the commemorative certificate presented for finishing the race, this one to his brother, John. (Michael Walker Jnr)

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The Irish cycling team relaxing on board the Saga, crossing the North Sea en route to Stockholm in 1912 (Michael Walker is second from left)

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on their return proudly wearing their ICA jerseys with giant shamrock emblems. (Michael Walker Jnr)

In 1912, two young Irish lads were getting ready to give their all for Ireland at the Olympic Games which were being held in Sweden. They were the Walker brothers, Michael and John.

Not only did these two brothers represent Ireland at the Olympics, they also put their lives on the line four years after the Olympics, when they once again took to their bikes, riding dispatch around Dublin during the Rising of 1916.

Michael and John had to overcome many obstacles in order to get ready for the games which were being held in Stockholm. Most Irish Olympians were either representatives of adopted homelands, like the USA or the Commonwealth dominions.

Since its foundation in 1906, the British Olympic Association only accepted membership or pro-British political views, and as a rule, the BOA did everything it could to prevent Irish people from representing ‘Ireland’ at any Olympic Games. They preferred instead that they would form part of a ‘Great Britain and Ireland’ team.

In 1911, the Irish Amateur Athletic Association sought separate representation at the Olympic Games, and in 1912, a very rare exception occurred, when the BOA allowed separate cycling teams from Ireland and Scotland take part in Stockholm. The reason for this was believed to be that cycling teams from these countries were unlikely threats to ‘Great Britain’ either in sporting or political terms.

View attachment 746688

Three Irish sports bodies affiliated to the BOA

The three Irish sports bodies that were affiliated to the BOA were the Irish Amateur Athletic Association (IAAA), the Irish Cyclists Association (ICA) and the Irish Amateur Swimming Association. No Welsh organisations were included but both the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association and the Scottish Cyclists’ Union were listed. Of the nations within the then United Kingdom, even these moderately political Irish sporting bodies were invariably the ones who most sought separate representation at the Olympic Games. The BOA minutes record, for example, on 25 April 1911, receipt of a letter from the Irish Amateur Athletic Association:

‘That the time has now come when the BOA as at present formed should be dissolved, and that the British representatives on the International Olympic Committee should endeavour to obtain separate representation for England, Scotland and Ireland on the committee’.
The BOA rejected the efforts of the IAAA to achieve this or any other form of separate Olympic identity in athletics, not least because the Irish athletes were at that time among the very best weight-throwers and jumpers in the world, not just likely to be on a possible Great Britain and Ireland team for the Stockholm Olympics. A very rare exception to this position occurred in 1912, when an Irish Cyclists Association team of six represented ‘Ireland’ at the Stockholm Games. That the BOA did, ultimately, accede to the push for separate Irish and Scottish cycling teams in Stockholm was mainly because separate cycling teams from these countries were unlikely threats to ‘Great Britain’, either in sporting or in political terms.

Separate Irish cycling team for Stockholm allowed

In the end, the BOA minutes show that a separate Irish cycling team for the Stockholm Games was allowed and was supported financially too. A meeting of the BOA on 28 November 1911 reported that:
‘. . . it had been intimated that the Irish Cyclists Association would probably desire to enter a team, and Mr Blair explained that the regulations permitted the entry of teams from England, Scotland and Ireland’.
Some months later, the committee had a further application before it from the Scottish Cyclists’ Union and recommended that the BOA defray the expenses of four Scottish and four Irish competitors, leaving the cycling associations of these countries to provide for any further competitors that they wished to send. The minutes of 16 April 1912 made it clear that the ICA had made an application for such support prior to this, even asking whether the money would be conditional on the ICA’s finding additional funds to make up a full squad of six cyclists, i.e. funding two from their own resources:
‘It was agreed that the grant should be unconditional, but that it should be suggested to the ICA that if at the eliminating trials the team were found to be not likely to do so well as the ICA had expected, it might be well to send only two or three competitors to take part in the individual competition’.

Swedish organisers taken by surprise

There is no further explanation in the BOA minutes concerning the association’s decision to support separate English, Irish and Scottish cycling teams for Stockholm. In the end, six ICA cyclists did compete in Stockholm, with the BOA apparently absorbing some of the additional costs. They travelled on a ferry across the North Sea and the remarkable photographic records of one of the six, Michael Walker, show the team relaxing on deck and, in a photo on their return, proudly wearing giant shamrock emblems. More remarkably, the Swedish organisers were taken completely by surprise, it appears, by the arrival of three separate cycling teams when in every other event, as per the BOA’s own regulations, Great Britain had only one recognised team. Quite clearly, the BOA’s interpretation of the rules allowing three different cycling teams from the United Kingdom to participate in the games was not shared by other countries. On the day before the cycling road race, France lodged an objection to what it, and many other nations, regarded as a clear breach of the rules on national representation. The cycling committee noted in the Official Olympic Report for 1912 that they
‘. . . regretted that this concession had been made, but declared at the same time that, as the teams from the countries in question had come to Sweden to take part in the event, the Swedish Cycling Committee did not wish to prevent them from doing so, and that the Swedish Cycling Association intended to take the responsibility for their so doing on its own shoulders, should any steps be taken in the matter by the Union Cycliste Internationale’.

Race an endurance test

The cyclists started individually at two-minute intervals, from 2am onwards, and the first Irish cyclist home took over twelve and a half hours to finish. The Irish were unfortunate in that the first Irish cyclist did not start until the 41st time-slot on the schedule, at 3.20am, by which time the weather had turned very much for the worse, with a strong westerly wind blowing directly into the faces of the later starters. The eventual winner, Rudolph Lewis of South Africa, had been the second rider off and clearly benefited from the better conditions early on.The highest-placed Irish cyclist was Michael Walker, in 67th place, with the other five team members occupying places in the last twenty of a total of 91 finishers. Following Walker were Francis Guy (71st), Ralph Mecredy (80th), John Walker (81st), Matthew Walsh (82nd) and Bernard Doyle (85th). This left Ireland with a team position, based on the first four riders home, of eleventh. (Mecredy, by the way, is widely credited with being the inventor of ‘bicycle polo’, and was on the Irish team that beat Germany 3–1 in an exhibition game at the London Olympics in 1908.)The Stockholm race was an endurance test beyond belief. In addition to the 29 who dropped out, 28 riders did not even start the race, at least some of them baulking at the conditions and hardship of the terrain, while only the first three home did so in less than eleven hours. The Irish achievement here was considerable. Their level of support could not have been anywhere near that of other teams, as subsequent correspondence shows that they did not even have spare bicycles if and when anything went wrong en route. All six Irish cyclists finished the race, which is put in perspective by the fact that four of the twelve Swedes failed to finish, even though Sweden won gold, and two of the second-placed England team did not finish either. Only one of the ten Russian competitors in the race actually finished at all, and Ireland’s scoring cyclists meant that our placing was above Hungary, Bohemia, Norway and Russia. So this was no mean achievement, especially for a group of cyclists who, politically, had had to overcome difficulties both within the BOA and in Sweden to be even allowed to participate. After the race, the organisers decided to award special diplomas of merit to the cyclists who had finished within 25% of the winner’s time, resulting in the first four Irish cyclists receiving this additional recognition.

Focus on the bicycles rather than the cyclists

The decline in the fortunes of Irish athletics, even in the four years since London, is mirrored in the decreased coverage of the Stockholm Olympics by the Irish media. The nationalist newspaper Sinn Féin was reduced to a few short paragraphs bemoaning the fact that Irishmen continued to be victorious but only as representatives of foreign states. In fact, the main focus of editor Arthur Griffith’s attention on Stockholm was the opportunity, in its 20 July 1912 edition, to reinforce one of the Sinn Féin party’s central tenets, its buy-Irish campaign, using the aforementioned cyclists:
‘One remarkable record comes to Ireland. In the long distance (team) cycle race, the only team all of whose members finished was the Irish team. Two thirds of its members were mounted on Lucania bicycles—bicycles completely manufactured in Dublin. The riders of the Lucania raced on them for twelve hours in competition with the world . . . In the case of every other team most of the riders had to change bicycles during the progress of the race. The Irish Lucania bicycle had thus made a world’s record. And still in the city in which it is manufactured twenty foreign and inferior machines are purchased to every one of the Irish machines, which beat the world at Stockholm. What slaves and what fools to our own interests we continue to be.’
This marvellous vote of confidence in Irish manufacture, of course, disguised the fact that the Irish cyclists had not been able to bring spare bikes or parts with them in the first place, thus necessitating the repair of their own machines as difficulties arose. It was an interesting final political twist to this particular Irish/Viking saga, but nothing should obscure the magnificent efforts of these intrepid men on two wheels to represent Ireland at a time when Ireland was not recognised in either British, Olympic or world sport.

Kevin McCarthy holds a Ph.D in history from University College Cork.

Some Interesting facts about the Swedish 1912 cycling race.

Only one cycling race was held at the 1912 Olympics. The Swedish Olympic Committee actually attempted to eliminate cycling altogether. No track races were planned, although at the 11th IOC Session in Luxembourg (11-13 June 1910), the British protested this decision but no change was made. The track races were eliminated because the only velodrome in Stockholm was being destroyed to make room for the new Olympic Stadium, and there were no plans to build a new one, even with the advent of the Olympic Games.

At the 12th Session (Budapest, 23-27 May 1911), the Swedes noted that they wanted to eliminate the road race as well. Britain's [Robert de Courcy Laffan] insisted that a competition of at least 100 km. should be held. Sweden's [Viktor Gustaf Balck] noted that, )our roads are so bad that it is impossible to organise such a race.) But eventually the Swedish Olympic Committee capitulated, and elected to hold it on the course for the Mälaren Rundt (Tour of Lake Mälaren), the most popular road race in Sweden. The Mälaren Rundt was first held in 1892 and 1893, and then again yearly after 1901.

The race was a very long (315.385 km. [196.0 miles]) time trial on the roads around Lake Mälaren. Lake Mälaren is a huge lake formed by a former inlet of the Baltic Sea. Stockholm was originally built on several islands in the outlet of Lake Mälaren into the Baltic Sea, in order to guard the Lake from foreign naval invasion. An individual and team competition was decided based on this single race. The event also holds the distinction of starting at the earliest time of any Olympic event ever - 2 AM (0200).

The cycling road race was noteworthy because England, Scotland, and Ireland were allowed to enter teams of riders as individual nations, rather than as one combined team representing Great Britain. It is uncertain why this decision was made. However, on the day before the event, 6 July, France protested this ruling. The ruling was discussed all day, and that evening, the Committee for Cycling announced that the three nations would be allowed to compete separately. The Cycling Committee noted that they "... regretted that this concession had been made, but declared at the same time that, as the teams from the countries in question had come to Sweden to take part in the event, the Swedish Cycling Committee did not wish to prevent them from doing so, and that the Swedish Cycling Association intended to take the responsibility for their so doing on its own shoulders, should any steps be taken in the matter by the Union Cycliste Internationale."

In addition to the Olympic medals, several cities along the route of the road course donated special prizes. The cycling awards ceremony was separate from the events in the stadium and took place on Monday, 9 July, at Restaurant Hasslebacken, where the awards were distributed by the President of the Cycling Committee, Gösta Drake af Hagelsrum. The special awards given were as follows: Memorial Cup of Eskilstuna - winner of the race - [Rudolph Lewis] (RSA); Memorial Cup of Västerås - top Swedish cyclist - [Erik Friborg]; Memorial Cup of Enköping - best rider between Enköping and the Olympic Stadium - [Leon Meredith] (GBR); Memorial Cup of Mariefred - given to cyclist who ride well but did not win a medal - [Frank Brown] (CAN); Silver Cup of Sundsvalls Velocipedklubb - winner of the team race - Sweden; and Memorial Cup of Köping - team with most participants finishing - Germany.






New to this, been searchin net now for enfo on johno'neils lucania, as own a lucania, it great you are covering these michines, hope you find great info on the lucania, need a few parts,ps the wheel hubs are stamped, made in Irealnd in irish.
 

dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,582
3,881
52
Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#17
Thats only photos on my phone, its a in the-- out, and dark, but of course i will,give me a few days, it needs TLC, some missing parts, bike is a gents, has a nice crank, love it.
That's cool, no rush!
Have you seen any other survivors?
 

filmonger

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Dec 25, 2010
4,868
5,475
Dublin, Ireland
#19
Very Interesting R string... I will keep the research going as it interests me very much. Thank you for the pictures and contribution. I'll keep an eye out here in the Republic as I am sure you will do the same in N Ireland.

To answer Bikejunk - I can only assume that the head badge is the Pierce marking on the headset along with the Pierce bracket. Though, This is only an assumption.
 

I miss that R string

On Training Wheels
Feb 6, 2018
8
15
41
northern ireland
#20
Very Interesting R string... I will keep the research going as it interests me very much. Thank you for the pictures and contribution. I'll keep an eye out here in the Republic as I am sure you will do the same in N Ireland.

To answer Bikejunk - I can only assume that the head badge is the Pierce marking on the headset along with the Pierce bracket. Though, This is only an assumption.[/QUOT
Very Interesting R string... I will keep the research going as it interests me very much. Thank you for the pictures and contribution. I'll keep an eye out here in the Republic as I am sure you will do the same in N Ireland.

To answer Bikejunk - I can only assume that the head badge is the Pierce marking on the headset along with the Pierce bracket. Though, This is only an assumption.
 

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