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