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British Industrial History

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Robert Walker Smith

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Robert Walker Smith (1855/7-1933) of Eadie Manufacturing Co, Eadie Chain Co, Enfield Cycle Co and BSA

1932/33 Obituary [1]

Robert Walker Smith was born in 1857 and obtained his technical education at the Wolverhampton School of Arts.

He served an apprenticeship in the Wolverhampton works of the Great Western Railway

For nine years subsequently was Assistant Works Manager of the Rudge Cycle Co. While with the Rudge Co, he was responsible for the parts and fittings which Perry and Co sold to the trade, and which were made for them in the Rudge factory. He came into contact with the great trade personality Albert Eadie, then manager of Perry's cycle department, and later known as "The Emperor of Redditch."

In association with Albert Eadie, he then formed the Eadie Manufacturing Co, the Eadie Chain Co, and the Enfield Cycle Co, and when the Eadie Company was taken over the by BSA, he was appointed Works Managing Director.

His association with the Enfield Cycle Co, lasted until his death which took place on the 6th February 1933 at the age of 75.

He was a member of the Institution of Automobile Engineers.

1933 Obituary [2]

ROBERT WALKER SMITH was managing director of the Enfield Cycle Company and had spent his career in the cycle industry. He was responsible for many patents, including the first cycle spring fork and the first four-wheeled tandem, which incorporated the system of stub-axle lever steering used on nearly all motor cars to-day.

He was born at Stamford, Lincolnshire, in 1855 and served his apprenticeship from 1869 to 1876 with the Great Western Railway at Wolverhampton.

He was later engaged in the engineering department of Messrs. John Fell and Company until 1883 when he joined the Rudge Cycle Company as draughtsman. He subsequently became manager of the firm.

In conjunction with the late Mr. Albert Eadie he formed in 1892 the Eadie Manufacturing Company at Redditch.

In 1896 the Enfield Cycle Company was formed and Mr. Smith was appointed director.

In 1907 the Eadie Manufacturing Company was amalgamated with the Birmingham Small Arms Company and Mr. Smith was elected to the board of directors. He resigned this position two years later in order to devote more time to the affairs of the Enfield Cycle Company. He also took an active interest in the development of the motor cycle.

Mr. Smith had been a Member of the Institution since 1897.

His death occurred on 6th February 1933.

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