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 146,047 pages of information and 231,597 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

William Reilly

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1867 William Reilly was born at 10 Wood Street, Salford on 11th January 1867 the son of Peter Reilly, a dairyman born in Ireland c1828.

1871 William living at 10 Wood Street, Salford (age 4 and born at Salford). With his father Peter (age 43 and born Ireland), Dairyman and his mother Rose A. (age 41 and born Salford), Dairywoman. Also his siblings John (age 18), Mechanic; Mary A. (age 16), Apprentice Dressmaker; Jane A. (age 14), Employed at home; Peter (age 11), Scholar; Joseph (age 10), Scholar; Selena (age 8) Scholar; James E. (age 6 (Scholar); and Rose H. (age 2). [1]

1881 William living at 1 Lee Grove, Salford (age 14 and born at Salford), Engine Turner. Living in home of his brother John and family. [2]

1891 William living at 19 Port Erin Street, Salford (age 24 and born at Salford), Iron Founder. With his wife Martha (age 21 and born at Galway) and daughter Florence (age 5 months). [3]

1896 William Reilly of Salford filed patent 6062 of 1896 for a two-speed hub

1901 William living at 57 Vere Street, Salford (age 34 and born at Salford), Electrical Engineer. Living with his wife Martha (age 31 and born in Ireland), and children Florence (age 10), Scholar, and William H. (age 8) plus William's brother Joseph (age 39), Railway Inspector. [4]

1902 Reilly designed a 3-speed hub gear. He had parted company with the manufacturer of 'The Hub' (Hub Two-Speed Gear Co) but had signed away to them the intellectual rights to his future gear designs.

To circumvent this problem, the patents for Reilly's 3-speed were obtained in the name of his colleague, James Archer.

Henry Sturmey had also invented a 3-speed hub. In 1903 Frank Bowden, head of the Raleigh Cycle Co, formed the Three-Speed Gear Syndicate, having obtained the rights to both the Reilly/Archer and Sturmey 3-speeds. Reilly's hub went into production as the first Sturmey-Archer 3-speed.

1906 William Reilly's brother, Harry, began the manufacture of a competing three-speed hub at the New Hudson Cycle Co's works in Birmingham under the name of the Armstrong.

Note: For a time William Reilly had been foreman in the toolroom of Royce in Cooke Street, Manchester, preceeding James Archer. [5]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1851 Census
  2. 1881 Census
  3. 1891 Census
  4. 1901 census
  5. 'In the Beginning - the Manchester Origins of Rolls-Royce' by Michael H Evans, Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust, 2004