Soon after Premier’s crossframe safety bicycle hit the market in 1886, every other cycle manufacturer turned their attention to making similar bicycles and also fittings for them. The supply of components enabled new manufacturers to build bicycles. Some of the established cycle companies supplied components as well as bicycles. Humber was one of the top cycle makers of the day and, as soon as they introduced new innovations in frame design, they were copied by the rest of the trade. Their 1880s ‘cripper’ tricycle and their 1890s diamond frame safety bicycle are classic examples.
I’m not sure how many of the fittings on this bicycle are Humber made, or whether they are copies of Humber components. But the rear hub is obviously a Humber item as it is inscribed HUMBER CHAIN, as you can see above. The ‘Humber Pattern’ block chain was patented by Hans Renold in 1885, but he allowed the patent to lapse and thus it became common property.
I found an 1891 advertisement, below, advertising Humber wheels. The front hub is matching, so maybe the wheelset on this machine is made by Humber. Until I’ve researched it further, I’m loathe to call this bicycle a Humber solely on the basis of its wheelset. Humber made quite a variety of crossframe bicycles over the years but I’ve not seen enough catalogues yet to check the models for comparison. So I’ve described it as a Crossframe safety with Humber Fittings.
I’ll update my desciption as more information comes to light…
c1889 Crossframe safety with Humber Fittings
This Humber Fittings machine is in good all round condition and ready to ride.
HUMBER PATTERN STEEL BLOCK CHAIN
(Hans Renold 1885 Patent)