1913 Golden Sunbeam for Gentlemen (Green Enamel)

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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 Golden Sunbeam for Gentlemen

Green Enamel

3-Speed Sunbeam Gears

26″ Frame
 
28″ Wheels – Aluminium ‘Roman’ Rims
Frame No 116913
(Now sold)
A hundred-year-old bicycle retaining its original paintwork with box lining and transfers (decals) is always a wonder to behold. Something as delicate as gold lettering that withstands the ravages of a century feels like ‘cheating’ Old Father Time himself.
The original green paint is in excellent condition all round. The only non-original items are the reproduction handlebar grip end caps, which require painting to match the bicycle. The original glass tube with a tyre repair patch is present though; it fits inside the handlebar grip, and you can see it removed and displayed in one of the photos towards the bottom of the page. The Sunbeam is ready to ride.

 

 

 

 

 1910 SUNBEAM CATALOGUE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 1915 SUNBEAM CATALOGUE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE PATENT HEAD LOCK FOR GOLDEN SUNBEAMS

 

 

ABOVE: Head lock disengaged.

BELOW: Head lock engaged.

 

OUTFIT HANDLES

 

 

HUB OILERS

While I was lying in the grass photographing this Golden Sunbeam, I noticed that the script on each of the oiler caps was legible, so here are some close up photos:

On the front: ROTHERHAM’S COVENTRY

On the rear: JOS LUCAS Ltd No 2 BIRMINGHAM

 

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.