1924 Sunbeam lady’s roadster

John Marston, born 6 May 1836 was apprenticed to Edward Perry, Son & Co., of Wolverhampton in 1851 as a tin plate worker and japanner (sheet metal with baked enamel finish). On completion of his apprenticeship he set up in business on his own, by purchasing the business of Daniel Lester in 1859, and when Edward Perry died in 1871 he purchased the Perry business. In 1887 the works foreman, William Newill, supervised the production of the first bicycle. A second machine was made and the decision was taken to commence production at Jeddo Works, Paul St., Wolverhampton, Staffordshire. The name ‘Sunbeam’ was registered on 9 January 1888 as well as a trade mark on that day.

In 1892 a number of machines were fitted with the oil-tight Carter chain-case (patent 1886/9283) for which the name ‘Little Oil Bath’ would become world famous, drawing on the skills of its tin plate workers. This chain-case was double-skinned with hessian in between to reduce noise. The soldered chain-case was discontinued in 1912 in favour of bolt-on construction.

By 1913 Sunbeam bicycles had reached their final form. The highest standards of construction were used along with the best materials and the highest quality finish of any make of machine. The machines were about five times more expensive than any other make and so the emphasis had to be on quality.

The Collection’s exhibit

The delightful rack and quality finish set this machine aside. Today, a Sunbeam of this era is much sought after.

vcc_supported This machine is supported by the Veteran-Cycle Club

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