Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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William Bown Ltd

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1877. First ball race pedal 'Aeolus'.
1877. First ball race pedal 'Aeolus'.
June 1904.

of 45 Brearley Street, and later of 308 Summer Lane, Birmingham, and of Bracebridge street, supplier of components to the bicycle and sewing machine industries.

1862 William Bown went into business.

1867 Listed as a Shuttle Maker of 45 Brearley Street.[1]

1875 Listed as a Sewing Machine Shuttle Maker of 308 Summer Lane.[2]

1875 William Bown, manufacturer of shuttles, reels, fittings and attachments to all kinds of sewing machines of 308 Summer Lane, Birmingham. [3]

1877 Notice warning anyone infringing his patent of adjustable ball bearings.[4]

1877 Description of the property in Summer street and on the corner of Brearley street. [5]

1879 Producing ball bearings [6]

1882 of Summer lane, Birmingham; "sole maker of patent 'Aeolus' ball bearings and general bicycle fittings and stampings".

1888 Showed an improvement by W. Bowen (sic) to prevent the breaking of bearing cases at the Stanley Cycle Show

1888 February. Stanley Exhibition of Cycles in Westminster. W. Bown showed components for cycle manufacture.

1888 William Bown: Manufacturer of bicycle, pocket, sewing machine and general oil cans; sewing machine shuttle makers; horse clipper, bicycle and tricycle fitting manufacturer[7]

1892 William Bown Ltd was formed to take over the business of William Bown.

1893 Took limited liability. Directors were: G. Ernest Wright, Malcolm Guthrie, James Adie, James W. Flavell and William Bown. Formed in 1862 and now employs 800 persons. Recently obtained new premises in Bracebridge street.[8]

The company was also involved in making screws.

1895 William Bown retired as managing director of William Bown (Limited)

1896/7 Directory: Listed under cycles. More details [9]

1900 The company was put into voluntary liquidation; J R Guthrie was chairman[10]

1902 By court order the business was to be sold as a whole or in lots as a going concern, the leasehold works, buildings, goodwill, patents, trade marks, machinery, fixed and loose plant, tools, stock in trade, business orders, and assets of the business of Manufacturers of Cycles, Cycle Fittings and accessories, Horse Clipping and Sheep Shearing Machines and other appliances of the business, carried on by William Bown Limited, at the Summer-lane Works, Birmingham, with the goodwill and tenancy of the Company's Agency Depot, at Caxton House, Cross-street, Newcastle-on-Tyne.[11]

1902 The company became William Bown (1902) Ltd (see advert)

By 1908 the company had become Bown Manufacturing Co

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1867 Post Office Directory of Birmingham
  2. 1875 White and Co.'s Commercial and Trades Directory of Birmingham
  3. [ National Archives MS 731/18
  4. Birmingham Daily Post - Monday 26 December 1887
  5. Birmingham Daily Post - Tuesday 04 December 1877
  6. Cycling. The Badminton Library. Viscount Bury and G. Lacy Hillier. 1889.
  7. Kelly's Directory
  8. Birmingham Daily Post - Saturday 15 July 1893
  9. Peck's Trades Directory of Birmingham, 1896-97: Cycles
  10. The London Gazette 25 January 1901
  11. The London Gazette 18 February 1902