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British Industrial History

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Coventry Machinists Co

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c1875. Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1875. Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1875. Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1875. Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1875. Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1875. Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1875. Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1875. Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1880s. 50". Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1880s. 50". Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1880s. 50". Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1880s. 50". Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1880s. 50". Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1880s. 50". Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1880s. 50". Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1880s. 50". Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
c1880s. 50". Exhibit at the National Cycle Collection.
1884.
February 1888. Shown at the 1888 Stanley Cycle Show.
1890 February. Exhibit at the 1890 Stanley Cycle Show.
1890 February. Exhibit at the 1890 Stanley Cycle Show. Tricycle.
June 1890.
1891. From The Cyclist’s Road Book.
Keating's Anti-vibration Handlebar. From 'Bartleet's Bicycle Book' No. 103.
1892. Marlborough Club Tricycle with Cushion Tyres. From 'Bartleet's Bicycle Book' No. 39.
1891. Swift Safety Bicycle with Cushion Tyres. From 'Bartleet's Bicycle Book' No. 40.
May 1894. Swift cycles.
1896. Swift cycles.

Coventry Machinists Company of Coventry

1869 Formerly the Coventry Sewing Machine Co and then incorporated as the Coventry Machinists Co, making velocipedes..

c.1870 Josiah Turner and James Starley were managers here, William Hillman was a foreman and George Singer was also a foreman here. John Thomas, Thomas Bayliss and John Slaughter all worked here before setting up Bayliss, Thomas and Slaughter; as did George Gilbert before setting up Centaur Cycle Co.

1870 Patent. '1430. To James Starley, of the Coventry Machinists' Company Limited, Coventry, in the county of Warwick, for the invention of "an improvement in sewing machines."'[1]

c1870 James Starley left the Coventry Machinists Co and, in conjunction with William Hillman, started on his own account in St. John's Street, Coventry to make sewing machines. He was joined in business by William Borthwick Smith as Smith, Starley and Co at St. Agnes Lane, Hales Street (from where they later moved to Ariel Works, Spon Street).

1871 Employing 63 men and 20 boys.[2]

1873 Patent. '2653. To Josiah Turner, of Coventry, in the county of Warwick, Manager of the Coventry Machinists' Company, for the invention of "an improvement in sewing machines."'[3]

1873. Patent. '3535. To Josiah Turner, Manager of the Coventry Machinists' Company, Coventry, in the county of Warwick, for the invention of "an improved construction of stand applicable to sewing machines."'[4]

1875. Patent. '1339. To Josiah Turner, Manager of the Coventry Machinists Company, of Coventry, in the county of Warwick, for the invention of "improvements in velocipedes."'[5]. There are a number of further patents in the following years to 1877 for "improvements in velocipedes."

c.1880 Announce the free-wheel with the Cheylemore Clutch designed by George Davies (of Alderley Edge) and promoted by Joseph White the managing director [6]

1883 Exhibited at the 6th Stanley Show[7].

1883 Produced the Pony, Club bicycles(?)

c. 1884 Sewing machine production ceased [8].

1885 Imperial tricycle; Cheylesmore tricycle

1888 February. Stanley Exhibition of Cycles in Westminster. Bicycle with suspension.

1888 June. Re-incorporation of a company originally incorporated in 1869

1890 Jan/Feb. The Stanley Exhibition of Cycles at the Crystal Palace. Illustrated.

1890 New premises erected.

1891 Swift and Club models

1894 Exhibited at the Antwerp Exhibition

1895 Charles Sangster designed the new Swift models for 1895, completely revolutionising the somewhat stodgy patterns of the oldest firm in the cycle trade.

1896 The company, the MD, the works manager and others entered into contracts with E. T. Hooley which were later referred to in the sales particulars[9].

1896 October. Taken over by the Swift Cycle Co which was floated for that purpose. Directors: Alfred Du Cros and Richard Lee Philpot (MD). W. Radford (Works Manager) [10]


Bartlett [11]

No. 39. 'Marlborough Club' tricycle. Weight 66.5 lbs., date about 1892; made by The Coventry Machinists' Co. Ltd., Cheylesmore Works, Coventry. Purchased at Thornton Heath. 28 inch steering wheel; 34 inch driving wheels. Cushion tyres. Note four-bearing axle bridge; spring lamp-bracket; mudguard stays very neatly attached to fork blades; handlebar 26 inches wide.

No. 40. 'Swift' safety bicycle, made by the Coventry Machinists' Co., Cheylesmore Works, Coventry, about 1891. Weight 48.75 lbs. Presented by Messrs. Swift of Coventry Ltd.

Fitted with cushion tyres. It was on a machine of this type (except that it was fitted with Boothroyd single-tube tyres) that M. A. Holbein rode 361 miles 1,446 yards in 24 hours at Herne Hill track in 1891, setting up a new record. A letter from Holbein is attached to the exhibit. [12]

No. 103. Anti-vibration handlebar, invented by J. J. Keating of Dublin, and made by the Coventry Machinists' Co. Ltd., A later model included a 'rebound' spring, fitted below the stop on the stem.


Notes 1880s Penny-farthing by Coventry Machinists Co of Cheylesmore, Coventry. Seen at the National Cycle Collection

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Gazette Issue 23619 published on the 27 May 1870. Page 18 of 44
  2. 1871 Census
  3. [2] Gazette Issue 24010 published on the 22 August 1873. Page 11 of 36
  4. [3] Gazette Issue 24035 published on the 14 November 1873. Page 27 of 60
  5. [4] Gazette Issue 24202 published on the 23 April 1875. Page 11 of 44
  6. Romance of the Cyclist's Touring Club. 1928. James T. Lightwood p31
  7. The Times, 30 January 1883
  8. A-Z of British Sewing Machine Manufacturers George
  9. The Times, 26 October 1896
  10. The Times of Monday, Oct 26, 1896
  11. Bartleet's Bicycle Book
  12. Bartleet's Bicycle Book