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British Industrial History

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Daniel Rudge

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Daniel Rudge (1840–1880) was a British engineer who built high-end bicycles and velocipedes.

Daniel Rudge was the landlord of the Tiger's Head (Inn) public house in Wolverhampton [1].

Rudge's close friend Henry Clarke started a wagon wheel building business and then ran the Cogent Cycle Co.

1868/9 Walter Phillips and George Price had become interested in the new cycle industry but needed a skilled engineer. Phillips approached Rudge about manufacturing a velocipede he had designed. Rudge began producing cycles in a small workshop located at the rear of the Tiger Inn, with Henry Clarke supplying the wheels [2].

Daniel was interested in racing, and with Henry's help, built racing machines at 19 Church Street, Wolverhampton[3].

1869 He won the first cycle race to be held in the grounds of the Molineux Hotel, Wolverhampton.

1870 Started selling racing machines.

1874 Produced high wheelers

1876 Walter Phillips was at the Widnes Works, Wolverhampton (the implication is that this was Dan Rudge's works)[4]

Late 1870s: for a short while produced Humber bicycles for Marriott and Cooper after they had parted company with Humber, whilst they had the use of the name.

1878 Rudge was awarded a gold medal for his exhibit at the London Cycle Show.

1878 Patent. Rudge gained a patent for his invention of the adjustable ball bearing bicycle hub (British Patent No 526). 'To Daniel Rudge, of Wolverhampton, in the county of Stafford, Bicycle Manufacturer, for the invention of "improvements in bicycles, partly applicable also to other purposes."'[5]

The French racing cyclist Charles Terront, later renowned for winning the first Paris-Brest-Paris event in 1891, used Rudge's axles with much success thereby bringing world attention to Rudge.

In the years before John Boyd Dunlop invented the pneumatic tyre, Rudge addressed the rough ride by producing a four-bladed, spring-suspended fork.

1880 June 26th. Daniel Rudge died.

On the death of Daniel Rudge, Walter Phillips took on the management of the business for the benefit of his widow[6].

1880 'Rotary' tricycle. (Exhibit at Birmingham Thinktank museum)

1880 George Woodcock, a well known Coventry solicitor, bought Dan Rudge's Wolverhampton business from his widow, amalgamated it with the Tangent and Coventry Tricycle Co as Rudge and Co, moved the works to Coventry and installed Harry Lawson as sales manager. Other people recruited were Charles Vernon Pugh as Director, William H. Nelson as Works Manager, Victor A. Holroyd as sales manager and Sidney Smith as Accountant. Walter Phillips remained with the company for several years and then joined the Coventry Humber Works[7].


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Rudge Motorcycle History [1]
  2. Rudge Cycles [2]
  3. Rudge Motorcycle History [3]
  4. Agents' Dinner to Mr. Walter Phillips: Motor News of 1st December 1906
  5. [4]Gazette Issue 24554 published on the 22 February 1878. Page 14 of 60
  6. Agents' Dinner to Mr. Walter Phillips: Motor News of 1st December 1906
  7. Agents' Dinner to Mr. Walter Phillips: Motor News of 1st December 1906
  • [5] Wikipedia
  • Rudge Motorcycle History [6].