Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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New Rapid Cycle Co

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April 1899.
March 1904.

New Rapid Cycle Co of St George's Engineering factory, Birmingham. Depots in High Viaduct, London, and Leeds.

1887 Mention of 'The beautiful Safety (Cycle) of the St. George's Engineering Company'[1]

1888 Advert. 'ST. GEORGE'S ENGINEERING COMPANY'S New RAPID CYCLES can now be seen Harbiss's Wine Street. Sole Agent for Bristol'[2]

1889 Report. 'A short time ago I rode a new Rapid for a few days, and, though I did not keep the machine very long, I gave it a rather severe testing, out of which it came in much better condition than I did. The test included a tumble which I got by riding close behind a friend, who suddenly sat up and slowed down to look at a signboard, and I went over him, but the only damage done was a badly bent pedal pin. The St. George's Engineering Company's machines are undoubtedly very strong, and really never wear out. The company's very just boast is that they can be ridden for years without even a spoke being broken. This result has been obtained in two ways- first, by good material and good workmanship, and I know of no more reliable machine to take on a long tour, especially on the Continent, where a breakdown is a very serious matter; and secondly, by making the machines very heavy. For a strong man this of course is not a disadvantage, though heaviness produces deadness. But for a light-weight, like myself, this is a great drawback, especially when pumping up hills, when what ought to be pleasurable hard work becomes really a misery. Another point to be noted is that the tools are simply absurdly heavy, weighing several pounds; while a monkey wrench weighing a few ounces will answer every purpose equally well. But the good points of the Rapid are, as I have said, reliable workman- ship, good anti-vibration springs, a remarkably easy saddle and spring which is supplied with it, and the almost absolute certainty that your machine is not going to break down. These points have assured for it its present very large popularity. C.T.C.'[3]

1898 New Rapid Cycle Co, Pope Street, Birmingham, mentioned.[4]

1898 Reported a trading loss of £5,682 and a total loss of £14,000.[5]

1899 Advert. Works address is Icknield Street, Birmingham.[6]

1902 George Patterson made his first motorcycle but it was not a sales success

1902-03 Produced a motorcycle. This machine was a bicycle fitted with a 2.25hp Kelecom engine, indicator and petrol gauge. It was equipped with other bicycle features and the finish was excellent.[7]

1906 Insolvent. '...Members of the New Rapid Cycle Company Limited, will be held at 6, Bennett's-hill, Birmingham, on Friday, the 25th day of May, 1906, at 11 o'clock in the forenoon, for the purpose of having an account laid before them, showing the manner in which the winding up has been conducted...'[8]

By 1907, Armstrong Triplex gears were being made at the St. George’s Engineering factory.

New Hudson Cycle Co were major customers for the Armstrong Triplex gears, and it is believed that they took over the New Rapid Cycle Co.

1910 Further production of motor cycles.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Pall Mall Gazette - Friday 28 January 1887
  2. Western Daily Press - Monday 05 March 1888
  3. Pall Mall Gazette - Friday 05 July 1889
  4. The Edinburgh Gazette Publication date:1 September 1899 Issue:11124 Page:840
  5. Freeman's Journal - Thursday 03 November 1898
  6. Pall Mall Gazette - Thursday 16 November 1899
  7. The British Motorcycle Directory - Over 1,100 Marques from 1888 - by Roy Bacon and Ken Hallworth. Pub: The Crowood Press 2004 ISBN 1 86126 674 X
  8. The London Gazette Publication date:24 April 1906 Issue:27907 Page:2819
  • Online Vintage Bicycle Museum [1]