Dan Albone was one of the cycle industry’s renowned innovators, but there are only a handful of known survivors of the Ivel marque. When I first came across this bicycle, in 2012, the owner John Hearne, of Bedford, told me it was an Ivel. After he died my friend Leon bought it. Ray Miller recently wrote an excellent book ‘Dan Albone: Cyclist, Inventor & Manufacturer’ (thoroughly recommended) and is the VCC marque enthusiast for Ivel. So, after I purchased the bicycle from Leon, I asked Ray’s opinion.
Ray examined the pictures and and spent time comparing them with Ivel advertisements, catalogue illustrations and the few other known Ivel safety bicycles, but he concluded that, though it has some similarities, it’s not an Ivel.
So I consulted my own database of early safety bicycles and eventually found that the only similar model shown in illustrations of the time is the 1888 Ormonde ‘No 2’ safety. The most interesting aspect of this discovery is that the ‘West London Cycle Stores’, maker of the Ormonde, was actually the London agent for Ivel bicycles. Ray commented:
1888 Ormonde Safety ‘No 2’
with left-side chainwheel and curved steel open fork blades
Jos Lucas & Son ‘Holophote’ King of the Road lamp
Jos Lucas & Son No 60 King of Bells
Rather than having hollow forks, ie tubular, this machine has curved steel open fork blades front and rear (photos above and below). As tube technology improved year by year – the weight of tubing became lighter but still strong – this style of fork became obsolete.
1891 IVEL CATALOGUE EXTRACTS
The 3rd Earl of Sheffield’s rhododendrons appear to be only slightly younger than this Ormonde safety bicycle. The manager of the Park asked me to point out that bicycles are not normally allowed inside – I received special dispensation out of visitor hours. We regulalrly visit Sheffield Park and would recommend it.
1891 IVEL TOOL POUCH
I found this Ivel tool pouch at Beaulieu autojumble last year. I suppose it’s rarer than an Ivel bicycle. As Ray Miller is ‘the Ivel man’ I gave it to him, when we met up just a few weeks ago …and now I’ve found a bicycle made by Ivel’s London’s agent. I’ve already asked leather master Paul Watson in Australia to make me a replica Ivel pouch 🙂
WEST LONDON CYCLE STORES
79 Wells St, Oxford St, London
According to Ray Miller’s ‘Encyclopaedia of Cycle Manufacturers’, the company started in 1885 as an agency and repairer of bicycles. As well as their London locations, they had a factory at The Tower, Princip St, Birmingham (in 1896). The directors were Ernest J Willis, Robert Willis and Elena Canepa.
One of the leading London cycle shops, the West London Cycle Stores also had branches at 25 Castle St East and 22 Holborn Viaduct. The Viaduct, completed in 1869, took six years to build, and this area became a centre for bicycle shops: Gamages based their business there, which obviously brought in a lot of business.
According to the notice (below) in the London Gazette of February, 1891, the West London Cycle Stores was wound up in December, 1889. The business subsequently became the Ormonde Cycle Co.
ORMONDE BICYCLE DEPOT
Freeman St, Adelaide, Australia
Ormonde also features in Australian history. The Ormonde Bicycle Depot, at 31 Freeman St, Adelaide, Australia was where Vivian Lewis started his business, initially as a cycle importer and reseller and then making his own cycles, motorcycles, and a few cars. He was one of the founders of the Australian cycle and motor industry. Events in May 1898 were to change the course of the Lewis Cycle Works: visiting with her Gladiator motor tricycle, French racing cyclist Mlle Serpolette made her Adelaide base at the Lewis Cycle Works. This was the first motorised vehicle to be brought to Australia.
When the motor tricycle wouldn’t run, works manager Tom O’Grady spent time first repairing then test riding it. Within ten months, O’Grady had obtained plans and built a small internal combustion engine, which was fitted to one of the pacing triplets and tested in Freeman St in March 1899. Though bicycles remained the focus through 1899, O’Grady’s motor was developed further and fitted to a tandem, then removed from the tandem to be the power unit of the first Lewis car, which took to the streets of Adelaide in November 1900. From that date on the name of the business changed to reflect its new-found interests: Lewis Cycle Works became Lewis Cycle & Motor Works.
Around 1895, Ormonde Cycle Co amalgamated with the St. Andrews Cycle Co of Romford, the latter company’s large factory being used by the new concern. Subsequent companies were the New Ormonde Cycle Co and, after 1900, the Ormonde Motor & Cycle Co (described as the Ormonde Motor Co in their motorcycle advertisements. Their first motorcycle was introduced in 1900.
Catalogues and advertisements with thanks to the VCC Archive and Ray Miller – http://veterancycleclublibrary.org.uk
V Lewis, Australia, history and photos with thanks to Leon Mitchell – http://earlymotor.com/lewis/history/html/ormonde.htm
Velocette history with thanks to the Velocette Owners Club – http://www.velocetteowners.com/