By 1908, the firm was in a strong position …A 2 3/4hp gentleman’s motor-bicycle appeared for the first time in the 1913 cycle catalogue, nine years after John Marston’s decision that there should be none. But in his eyes the Sunbeam bicycles and tricycles were by then as near perfection as could be obtained – the last design patent had been granted in 1910 – and perhaps design work at Sunbeamland had shifted to the motorcycle, as had happened with other famous cycle-firms such as BSA, Centaur, Humber, James, New Hudson, New Imperial, Premier, Quadrant, Rudge-Whitworth, Singer, Sparkbrook and Triumph …In 1916 John Marston relinquished daily control of the factory.
– From ‘Sunbeam Cycles: The Story from the Catalogues’ pages 201, 202
John Marston Ltd was at its peak in 1913, still run by John Marston himself, and the British Empire reigned supreme. A year later, so many skilled tradesmen would be sent to their deaths for the sake of glory and The King (and, of course, the defeat of a bellicose enemy). But, in 1913, despite impending war bubbling under the surface, the only minor infringement on the country’s equilibrium was the sound of Golden Sunbeam wheels spinning over this green and pleasant land.
1913 Sunbeam for Gentlemen
Green Enamel, 28″ Tall frame
3-Speed Sunbeam Gears
THE PATENT HEAD LOCK FOR GOLDEN SUNBEAMS
THE SUNBEAM THREE-SPEED HUB
‘ROMAN’ ALUMINIUM RIMS
Dr Reinhard Isidore Romanoff was a pioneer in the application of aluminium, and experimented with the production of aluminium-tubed BIcycles. His company was the ‘Roman Cycle Co’ of 31 Lombard Street, London. He perfected a jointless rim made from a new alloy – aluminium, tungsten and nickel – which he patented in 1897 and displayed at the National Cycle Show. He named his unique alloy ‘Romanium’, and his new lightweight wheels were called ‘Roman’ rims. A manufacture date appears inside all rims, eg 0813 for August 1913.
Bicycle ‘novelties’ such as aluminium wheels were welcomed by the cycle industry, cycling press and public alike. In 1904, the Marston Cycle Co decided to adopt Dr. Romanoff’s famous ‘Roman’ rims and offer them as an optional extra when a customer bought a Sunbeam. By 1909 Roman rims were fitted to all Sunbeams, until steel rims were introduced in 1916.
ORIGINAL W & A BATES CARRIER CORD TYRES