As you can see in the 1890 Coventry Machinists’ Co advertisement above, the company had a Paris depot at Rue du 4 Septembre. The Swift Model C Safety featured here was sold through that shop, as shown by the original transfer (decal) on the rear mudguard, below.
1890 Coventry Machinists’ Co Swift Model C Safety
Sold through their Paris depot at Rue du 4 Septembre
Duplex seat tube
Frame 19.5″ (50cm).
Wheels: 30″ front; 28″ rear.
The end of the 1880s saw evolutionary changes in cycle design, from the first crossframe of 1886, the Rover pattern, semi-diamond and curved seat tube models, to the first diamond frame safeties with a horizontal top tube such as this one. Duplex tubing was popular at the time, and the Swift Model C has that feature in its seat tubes.
In 1890, there was a lot of pressure on cycle manufacturers to incorporate new features on their bicycles that had just been introduced by their competitors. This meant many models were already out of date by the time they appeared in a company’s catalogues. For example, chain adjustment had moved from the bottom bracket to the rear dropouts (such as on this Model C), and ball head steering had replaced socket steering. The ‘Model C’ retains the older steering design, which is why, in my opinion, it was named the ‘Model C’ – you can see from the advertisement further down the page that the ‘Model A’ had the latest ball bearing steering and was 25% more expensive.
The ‘Model D’ offered by Swift in 1890 is their (by now out-of-date) crossframe; they were probably using up old stock, and its price was 20% less than the ‘Model C’. Whereas the older crossframe had bolt-on chain stays, the chain stays on the 1890 models are an integral part of the frame.
1891 SWIFT CATALOGUE EXTRACTS (GERMAN)