1940s Mercury Military Roadster

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This military roadster is believed to have seen service in India. A.R.D.E is the Armament Research & Development Establishment, which was established there in 1958. The fact that the bicycle is here in Britain rather than in India suggests that it was owned by the British army.

1940s Mercury Military Roadster

Officially described as: ‘Bicycle, Trade Pattern, Heavy Duty’

Series 6/VEH/17245

UNRESTORED ORIGINAL

Dunlop rubber saddle

Military Markings

24″ Frame

26″ Wheels

Mercury military bicycles were not used during WW2 (Mercury Industries was formed in 1947), but are the same specification as the BSA Mk V and officially known as ‘Bicycle, Trade Pattern, Heavy Duty.’ Many were used on airfields. The British Army was busy after WW2, with a lot of post-war work in Europe, supporting the US Army, campaigns in India, Palestine, Africa, Malaya, Suez, etc, and these bicycles saw military service. They were used by both British and American troops.

This military Mercury has not been repainted, but is completely original, still bearing its Mercury steering head transfer, a good seat tube MERCURY transfer, and army markings (these types of markings usually indicated its area of service and where it was stored). The rubber Dunlop saddle is in excellent condition. There’s an old repair to the bottom of the front mudguard, but otherwise the roadster is in excellent all round condition, and it’s ready to display and ride.

 

Mercury Industries (Birmingham) Ltd

Stratford Rd, Birmingham. Registered Company Number 419738.

As a cycle manufacturing company, Mercury Industries (Birmingham) Ltd was very different from its competitors. The retail home market was not its priority. Instead, Mercury was established to provide exports and fulfill ministry contracts.

The company was formed in 1946, with premises in Stratford Rd, Birmingham, and trading as the Mercury Cycle Company.

Throughout the War, the Government had issued contracts to industry. British industry was, in effect, nationalized.

This arrangement was dismantled only slowly when the War ended. One reason was the top priority of procuring foreign exchange by suppressing demand in the home market and maximizing exports.

As Mercury Industries Ltd was so successful in their postwar venture, I find it hard to believe that the Government and key players in the bicycle manufacturing industry did not have major involvement.

As journalist and Mercury expert Mark Daniels describes it:

Their rise was meteoric: within a year the business relocated to Dock Lane, Dudley to accommodate increasing demand and rocketing North American exports projected at $1,500,000!

By 1948 some 200 employees were already on the payroll; then with the 1950s came the cyclemotor and new opportunities for the first motorised products. These were specially constructed, heavy gauge gents ‘Diamond’ and ladies ‘Open’ style Mercury frames to mount the Cyclemaster unit, made specifically for this purpose and supplied with no rear wheel. 1953 listings added a Pillion frame with pad and footrests, and the Roundsman 1cwt rated delivery frame with small front wheel and large carrier. All four products continued up to 1955.

Without direct public sales during its years of bicycle manufacture, Mercury Industries did not advertise until around 1952 when it became involved with Cyclemasters and, subsequently, scooters. Its scooters were totally misconceived, and this led directly to the collapse of the company and liquidation, in 1958.