Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 125,728 pages of information and 196,442 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Tom Tit Cycle Co

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1897. No. 43. 'Tom Tit' Juvenile bicycle. Weight 23 lbs. Presented by Messrs. Rowe Bros., Addiscombe, near Croydon. Made by the Tom Tit Cycle Co. Ltd., 16 St. Helen's Place, London, E.C., and Tudor Works, Birmingham, in 1897.

The company was registered on 4th January, 1897, with a capital of £10,000, the manager being Arthur Goodwin, a very well-known trade personality, who had previously been associated with the Coventry Machinists Co.

Goodwin was originally a partner in the firm of Stanley and Goodwin of Southampton, who made a bicycle called the 'Southern'; in later years he was connected with C. A. Vandervell and Co, and was in their service at the time of his death, in September, 1927, at the age of 57.

The Tom Tit Co. confined itself to the manufacture of juvenile cycles, making a 'mixed' tandem and a girl's bicycle on the same lines as this boy's machine. The special feature was the frame. No illustration can do justice to the peculiar construction of this unique machine: no description can convey to the reader a full understanding of its peculiarities. The entire frame (with the exception of the front fork, steering post, and diagonal tube) is made from a single piece of solid steel rod about 0.5 inch thick. No join can be found in this piece of metal: it runs round the top and bottom of the steering head, completely round the bracket shell, forms a slot for the rear wheel spindle, and returns to its starting point, wherever that may be.

Note also the wooden handlebar, and 'one-piece' wooden rims with dove-tail join. [1]

1898 Meeting resolved to wind up the company.[2]

Sources of Information

  1. Bartleet's Bicycle Book
  2. The London Gazette Publication date:1 April 1898 Issue:26953 Page:2119