John Marston (born 1836) was apprenticed to Edward Perry, Son & Co, of Wolverhampton in 1851 as a tin plate worker and japanner (sheet metal with baked enamel finish). On completion of his apprenticeship in 1859, he purchased the business of Daniel Lester and set up on his own. When Edward Perry died in 1871 he purchased that business too.
In 1887 the works foreman, William Newill, supervised the production of their first bicycle. After a second machine was made, the decision was taken to commence production at Jeddo Works in Wolverhampton. The name ‘Sunbeam’ was registered on 9 January 1888.
In 1889 Sunbeam cycles appeared at the London Stanley Show with three on view. One of the Sunbeam safeties featured a special eccentric crank bracket for adjusting the chain. This was the first bicycle part to be patented by the company.