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About

I’m Tony Hadland, a writer and historian based in Oxfordshire, England. This blog is the successor to my original website, Hadland.net, established at the start of 1998. It principally covers aspects of bicycle history and technology, recusancy in the Thames Valley, my talks and books, and the exploits of my Victorian great-great-uncle, the explorer and spy Captain William Gill of the Royal Engineers.

55 Comments
  1. Tommy permalink

    Hello Tony,
    Thank you for your work. I have a couple questions/requests for you about the origin of the Freewheel. I understand that William Winterborne, an English engineer, claims to have been the original inventor of the free wheel but sold its design to a company for 20 pounds in 1865 . In your book “Bicycle Design: An Illustrated History” you reference page 187 of “William Winterborne of Isleworth and the freewheel.” from a source called The Boneshakers written by Brent Scholes. Can you shed some light, if any, on William Winterborne’s role in the invention of the freewheel?

    Cheers,

    Tommy

    • Hi Tommy and thanks for your kind words. The article by Brent Scoles is in issue No. 187 (Winter 2011) of The Boneshaker, which is the journal of the Veteran-Cycle Club. The article occupies about three and a half pages, and is fully referenced. What it shows is that Winterborne claimed to have invented the freewheel and to have sold the rights for a modest sum – £20 in three reported versions, £80 in two others. However, despite searching far and wide, Brent Scoles found no evidence of a patent of any kind, for anything whatsoever, in the name of William Winterborne. (His son Arthur William, who lived in the USA, did have one US patent, in 1926, but it had nothing to do with freewheels and was, of course, very much later.) Neither did Brent find any details of the device allegedly invented by Winterborne, e.g did it use rollers, sprung pawls, unsprung pawls, or what?
      So apart from reports that Winterborne used to tell people he had invented the freewheel, there appears to be no evidence whatsoever that he did. He was certainly a talented engineer and the idea of the unidirectional rotary automatic clutch is centuries old (think winches, for example), so he may well have dreamt up a freewheel. But whether any particular product ever went into production as a result of his thought processes is unproven. As my article ‘Invention is not enough’ on this blog points out, inventing things is one matter – getting them made is quite another.
      All the best,
      Tony

  2. Dear Tony Hadland,

    I just read your book ‘Bicycle design’. I have got one question: on page 20 you mention a ride from Mannheim to Paris of a team of men riding their draisines. Where did you get this information? I cannot get any further information about this ride. Would be happy, if you could help me.

    Yours sincerly

    Frank

    • Hi Frank,
      Thank you for reading our book and for your email. Hans-Erhard Lessing wrote the part of the text dealing with Drais; you can email him at helessing@t-online.de
      The reference we cite in paragraph 4 of page 20 is the French-language book by Keizo Kobayashi, full bibliographical details of which are on page 532. Incidentally, the demonstration of draisines in Paris was reported briefly in The Times of London, although the ride from Mannheim was not mentioned.
      I hope this helps.
      All the best,
      Tony

  3. malix05 permalink

    Dear Tony Hadland,
    my name is Fabio and I am doing a little research on bikes. I found your book Bicycle Design extremely useful. I would kindly ask you a suggestion where I can find some information about helmets from an historical perspective. Indeed I found some internet sites giving nice overview (starting from pith helmet and then hairnets) but they did not provide any reference to books or articles, which I need.

    Thanks for any help you can provide me.

    Fabio

  4. S. Paul Shecter permalink

    Tony,
    I have both the space frame and the F-Frame books. Both are well done. The space frame book is from you & the original publishers, printed by CP Service. I was wondering if you had any data on the TSR frames…. they look better than an APB…

    I have a 64 F-frame 4 speed. I’d like to get a space frame. I am in Canada.

  5. Hi Tony,

    I have been left an interesting old black Raleigh bike (postman’s ? – I’m not a bike person ) that needs an ID. Because my info accompanies a group of images, Is it possible to send these to an e-mail address ?.

    Regards

    Tobie

  6. Peter Wells permalink

    Hi Tony, having just returned to cycling with the purchase of a Raleigh Roadster, your Sturmey Archer info has been invaluable. I have a problem: the connecting rod HSK651 from the stirrup to my BF front hub brake has snapped. Do you know of anywhere I can get one. Pete

  7. Peter Wells permalink

    Hi Tony, having just returned to cycling with the purchase of a Raleigh Roadster, your Sturmey Archer info has been invaluable. I have a problem: the connecting rod HSK651 from the stirrup to my BF front hub brake has snapped. Do you know of anywhere I can get one. Pete j

  8. Beto permalink

    Hello Tony! I’m writing from Argentina. I need your help. Some person recommend me to contact you to help me. I’ve justo bought an old Phillips bike, and I’m trying to find out more about my bike,
    PLease contact me, I would like to share with you some pics and details. I hope you can help me.
    Thank you so much.
    From Argentina, Buenos Aires.
    Beto.
    alosroco@hotmail.com

  9. Patrick Han permalink

    Hi Tony, I am a vintage bicycle fan from Shanghai, China. I just read your article about “Did Chairman Mao ride a Moulton” and was really excited of your detialed description of this Phoenix model and the comparision with Moultion. I have a book called “The 30 years Phoneix: 1958-1988” which was published officialy by the factory making the Phoenix-brank bikes back in the 1980s. According to this book, the Moultion-like Phoenix model is “BZ 01” (meaning suspension No.1 in English) under Phoenix’s coding system and was first rolled out in 1965. This model only lasts for about 2 years and ended its production in mid 1966 during to the breakout of the Cultual Revolusion in China.

    Happy to discuss if you have any question about this bike and the Chinese vintage bicycles in general.

    Best Regards,

    Patrick

    • Hi Patrick,
      Very many thanks for this very interesting information. I would certainly welcome any further information you would like to send about the BZ 01.
      All the best,
      Tony

      • Patrick permalink

        Hi Tony. The BZ01 demostrated in your article appears to be an “export” model where all the brand names stampled/printed on the bike or its parts are “phoenix” instead of its Chinese name “Feng Huang”. Also, the “export” model seems to use British standard threading and some of the parts are interchangebale with moultons. However, there is another “local” model of BZ01 where the then-prevailing Chinese standard (China basically droppped this standrd in the 1980s) thread is used. The print is also diffrent with a lot more Chinese characters and local taste.

        I might be able to get a BZ01 from a friend in Beijing. Will look close it when the bike arrive in Shanghai.

        Cheers,

        Patrick

      • Hi Patrick,
        That’s fascinating – thanks very much. It would be great to know more about this machine.
        All the best,
        Tony

  10. Dave Connley permalink

    Tony do you remember me from when I used to make the derailleur converters. I don’t make them any more for sale, but have just produced one for my own use that takes 5 of the six sprockets from a standard Shimano 6 speed freewheel. It screws on to the old type screwed driver and as the last sprocket is riveted on and clears the left hand ball cup it puts the largest sprocket much closer to the spokes. I would be happy to send you some photographs of how it all works.

    • Hi Dave,
      Yes, I certainly do remember you and I should be delighted to receive photos and further details of your latest converter. Could you please send them to tony.hadland@gmail.com
      All the best for 2015!
      Tony

  11. Hello! Im looking for 2 birth dates that maybe you can help me with. the first is Sir Francis Bowden and the second is Hamilton Osgood of Raleigh of america. Any ideas?
    Thank You Very Much.

    • Hi Scott,
      Sir Frank Bowden (never ever referred to as Francis – he was formally registered as Frank) was born 30 January 1848 in Exeter, Devon (not Bristol, as sometimes misreported). I have a copy of his birth certificate.
      Hamilton Osgood, although a Bostonian, appears to have been born in Switzerland in 1908.
      Hope that helps!
      Tony

  12. Anna Porter permalink

    Hi Tony

    I was hoping to email you directly regarding some cycling documents from 1899 – 1901 which I though might be of interest, but can’t locate an email address for you. Please could you supply one?

    Kind regards

    Anna

  13. Keith Hales permalink

    Hi Tony

    You are quoted (17/11/14) on a Japanese newspaper website re a Chilean thief proof bike design:
    http://mainichi.jp/english/english/features/news/20141117p2g00m0fe025000c.html

    Keith

    • Hi Keith,
      Many thanks for this. I’d seen the English language article by Luis on ABC’s website but didn’t know it had been picked up in Japan.
      Cheers,
      Tony

  14. Andrew permalink

    Great site here. Thought I would float this obscure question to the obscure viewers of this page. I recently acquired a very nice vintage leather bicycle saddle with heavy silver rivets. It carries an ornate stamp impression in the leather “Lamplugh Paris”. I have been unable to find anything on this company or to find another saddle like this. Ideas?

  15. Duchy Wheeler permalink

    Hello Tony, I’ve read and heard that the Sun Race Sturmey-Archer production is now in China, made by prisoners! See comment below, do you know if this is correct?
    Quote from http://mccraw.co.uk/sturmey-archer-s2c/ …… Posted November 27, 2012 at 9:09 PM by Ken,
    “I bought one of these S2C hubs from a bikeshop here in Canada. It worked well for a short time, then started making loud banging/cracking noises, skipping in first gear, and suddenly freezing. I replaced it with a Velosteel hub, single-speed but much more solidly built and smoother running. It is a modern-day version of the old Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo hub, and is made in the Czech Republic, not in a prison in China-where all the Sturmey Archer product is now made, not in Taiwan, as they would have you believe.”
    Regards, Geoff.

    • Hi Geoff,
      As you probably know, I’ve been a close Sturmey-Archer watcher for many decades. As with the other cycle companies I write about, I have never been in their pay, always maintaining independence of comment. I have never heard any suggestion previously that all Sturmey-Archer product is now made “in a prison in China”. Therefore, having received your query, I asked a senior executive of the company, whom I have known for many years to be an honest and reliable source, and he has completely denied the story. It is, however, true that when Sturmey-Archer was based in England the company sometimes used prison labour for some light tasks, such as assembly of control mechanisms. This involved prisons in the UK and the Netherlands, including a women’s prison at Zwolle. I had certainly heard about that in the past and, as far as I am aware, the company has never tried to conceal the fact.
      All the best,
      Tony

      • Duchy Wheeler permalink

        Tony…… thank you very much for taking this up with your SA contact and passing on his comments.
        Best regards, Geoff.

  16. Dave Piggott permalink

    Hi Tony, I have just come across your Blog and it is extremely good. Also handy as I have your 1987 Book on Sturmey Archer (as well as your Raleigh Book plus a few others) so the supplement was very interesting. I have a James Roadster with a Brampton 3 speed with Speedy Switch and even tough I know it was an AW clone from the 50’s but do you know what date they started and finished making the Brampton? I thought from about 1955 to 1958 but I am not sure. Regards Dave Piggott (Kent Secretary V-CC)

    • Many thanks, Dave – glad you found the blog useful. You raise an interesting point about Brampton’s AW clones. In the Raleigh/S-A company minutes I have seen, there is little or no reference to Brampton, but much more concern about Hercules. Ted Tyndall’s research suggests that some Hercules-badged AWs were made by S-A as early as 1937. There was very little about the AW that was protected by patent and Hercules had already made a good pre-production AW copy by October 1945. All Raleigh could do was serve a writ on Hercules for transgressing a minor 1939 patent relating to selector spline design. Hercules simply changed the spline design slightly and carried on with impunity. Hercules were producing glossy promotional literature for their AW copy by 1949, despite the steel shortage.
      It is not clear how many Hercules hubs were actually made by Brampton – it seems certain that some were. Both companies became part of TI’s British Cycle Corporation and it would have been mad to have two companies making rival products. We also know that, in autumn 1954, Phillips (also part of BCC) committed to using only S-A hubs from 1955 to 1960, and to give two years’ notice if they intended to make their own hub gears. Furthermore, we know that in 1956, TI, as owner via BCC of Hercules, signed an agreement with Raleigh not to make hub gears or to source them from anyone other than S-A. So by 1956, BCC was completely out of hub gear manufacture, although there may still have been stock in warehouses and on dealers’ shelves. So, with the new cosy relationship between BCC and Raleigh, Hercules were able to market a badge-engineered version of the SW almost as soon as S-A launched it. In 1960, BCC merged with Raleigh, so all these companies became part of the same TI-Raleigh organisation.
      Tony

      • Dave Piggott permalink

        Many thanks for the information Tony, I did not realise it was so complicated, I had always assumed that the clone copies were made during the period that Sturmey Archer were not making the AW and were manufacturing the SW range instead. As they say never too late to stop learning.
        Regards Dave

      • Dead right, Dave – nobody knows everything (even if they think they do!) and we can all learn more.
        Tony

  17. Liona123 permalink

    Tony, thanks for this valuable info. The front brake is a 95 mm drum and looks like an SA to me; The rear hub looks massive, almost like that of a small motorcycle. The 3 speed internal parts are undoubtly SA, The planetcage has twice the lenght of a normal K type. All the rest is identical, (Exept the axle lenght). Front and rear hub were covered with a bronze-alike paint. After revision and replacement of planetwheels, axles and balls,the hub works and the bike rides as a train. Liona and Iris were both the bicycle marks from the Brothers De Coster from Gent (Belgium). Famous for there tandems, tricycles and motorcycles. That’s al I can find about the bike’s history.But the only that matters is: my wife and I both enjoy riding this remarkable re-appearance of the past.Thanks, Frank

    • Interesting information. By the way, I like Gent very much and my first visit was by bicycle in the summer of 1966, using a Sturmey-Archer FW 4-speed.
      Hartelijk bedankt, Tony

  18. Liona123 permalink

    Very usefull information, congratulations.
    I just have restored a 1936(?) KT3 hub with Perry 111 drum brake on a Liona Tandem. It is not a typical KT-3 hub, both R and L spokeflanges are 13, 5 cm diameter.I would like to find more info about this. Do you have any idea where ? .

    • Hi Frank,
      Sounds like a Perry-Sturmey. Perry Brothers of Birmingham won an award from the Cyclists’ Touring Club for their hand-applied (as distinct from back-pedal) hub brakes. About 1930 they spotted a gap in the market and launched the Perry-Sturmey hub. This combined a type K Sturmey-Archer 3-speed with a Perry drum brake. It was made it two versions – one for Gent’s solo machines, the other “Specially for Two-Gent’s Tandem Machines”. (Women don’t seem to have figured in Perry’s marketing plans.) Sturmey soon started making their own hub brakes and brake/gear combinations but Perry-Sturmey hubs were still being made in the mid 1930s. There is a 1937 Perry advert and five photos of a solo Perry-Sturmey hub here: http://www.sturmey-archerheritage.com/index.php?page=history-detail&id=865 You will see that the brake drum is smaller than a 1930s Sturmey and, according to my 1987 book on Sturmey-Archer, the Perry-Sturmey tandem brake drum was 3.75 inches (95 mm) in diameter.
      Tony

  19. William Hudson permalink

    Tony …. some years ago you gave advice on my bicycle timeline (currently hosted on Jim Langley’s web page). I am updating it and would welcome an opportunity to include you in the loop. If its OK …. can you rely to me at WilliamPedalsOn@gmail.com Thanks !!!!!

  20. Stewart permalink

    This ebay listing for a Sturmey-Archer Tricoaster enamel sign will go live at about 7.45 20/12/2012 . I thought you might like to see it. Please remove this posting if it contravenes your policies. http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140899036514

  21. Richard Burdett permalink

    Tony,
    many thanks, I’ll go to the VCC, and keep scratching my head re. the Raleigh – sure it is one, from many aspects.
    Yours et cetera,
    Richard

    • OK, and if you do join the V-CC, you could send details and pictures of the possible Raleigh to be published in their “News & Views”. That might well flush out the answer.
      Tony

  22. Richard Burdett permalink

    Tony,
    Can you point me in the right direction in some information I’m searching for – I don’t want to join the VCC as I’ve enough memberships already which I don’t actively engage in. I’ve two old frames that I’ve half identified, but want to know exactly what/when they are.
    1. I’ve an old frame that I think is an old Cooperative Wholesale Society (CWS), possibly a Federal. However, the worn head badge, from which I read **EDE**, CW*, and ‘Cycle Works’, needs to have a new transfer made, and I’ve nothing to go on. Even the Coop Archive say they can’t help. Have you seen a good copy of this badge I might use to reproduce it? Photo can be sent, but it’s green, black and silver. Think it appeared as a Model 5 Federal in the CWS catalogue of 1939.
    2. I’ve another old frame, which I think is a Raleigh, but:
    a) The frame number on the seat tube 36017, doesn’t fit what I’d expect from a Raleigh, as most lists say it should have a letter.
    b) It’s flattened where the seatstays meet the seat tube, and this stepped feature doesn’t look like other Raleighs, except a Golden Arrow I’ve seen, but this had a chaincase once.
    Any ideas?
    Yours Aye,
    Richard

    • Hi Richard,
      Thanks for your message. I’m afraid I don’t know that much about CWS bikes in general. The V-CC does have a CWS (Co-op, Federal & Wheatsheaf) marque specialist who should be able to advise but that service is, according to the V-CC Yearbook, “only available to Club members”. You might consider it worth punting a subscription just for a year to see whether their CWS marque specialist can provide the info you need.
      Regarding the other bike, as you rightly state, one would expect a letter or two with any Raleigh number post 1926. The seatstay/seat tube detail also sounds unlikely. So my guess would be that the frame in question is probably not a Raleigh.
      All the best,
      Tony

  23. Munaharu Sugimoto permalink

    Hello Tony
    I got beautiful Moulton W pylon.
    I hope to put Moulton ORIJINAL mosquit bar to my bike,but I can not get it in JAPAN.
    so, Do you have any information about orijinal mosquit bars.
    If you have,let me know about it.
    Munaeru Sugimoto

    • Hi Sugimoto San,
      Good to hear from you. These handlebars are very rare and the best place to ask is either the Moulton Bicycle Company or on the Moulton Yahoo discussion group. Both are easy to find via Google. I hope this helps.
      Tony

      • Munaharu Sugimoto permalink

        Hi Tony.I’ll try it.Thankyou.
        Muneharu

  24. Lynton Prescott permalink

    Tony Not sure if you will get this but would like to thank you for all the SA information, Invaluable!! Have rebuilt a number of them now. Also see that you had an interest in Moultons. I have just been given a Mk 3 which is well into its restoration. Could you advise me where to get some new tyres for this bike? Been all over the internet without any luck. I would appreciate a reply to lynton.prescott@manchester.ac.uk Thanks Lynton

    • Many thanks, Lynton. I’ve replied direct in more detail to you regarding the tyres. Fortunately they are the same as used on Brompton folding cycles.
      Tony

  25. Eric Concannon permalink

    Tony – Thanks for the hubstripping suggestion. Found a “buyer” just today.

    Cheers!

  26. Eric Concannon permalink

    Thanks, Tony. I’ll try the hubstripping folks and post back here if that doesn’t pan out.

    Cheers, Eric

  27. Eric Concannon permalink

    Heya. Nice Sturmey Archer hubs rebuild page. I wonder if you have any thoughts on how to make sure a vintage SA cone wrench (unknown age) gets in the hands of someone who needs one? I’m in the US and would mail it to anyone in the states who asks for it at no charge.

    • Hi Eric,
      Many thanks for your kind words. Regarding the spanner, I’d be happy to put a piece on the blog, if you’d like to draft it. But you might do better to email the guys at the Hubstripping website (hubstripping.wordpress.com).
      All the best,

      Tony

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