The chain gang

Here’s a great bit of cycling ephemera from David Evans. Lord knows where he found it, but I so love this. A brief history of Villiers, a true Wolverhampton engineering success story, who were associated with Sunbeam bicycles can be found here on the Wolverhampton University local history pages. I think this pamphlet is from the 1930’s.

You have to think carefully about this to get your head around how it works. Click for a legible image.

Gears were where it was at. Fancy French and Italian bikes where sporting nascent derailleur systems, and the mass-produced hub gear was still some years off becoming cheap enough for all. Click for a larger version.

While we’re on the subject, some very exotic systems appeared in the years before the derailleur and hub gear became the accepted norms. Hirondelle and others used a system that gave four gears in a very peculiar, innovative way. The system below is French and dates from 1925. See if you can work out how it functions.

This is fiendishly clever. I’ll post a link to the system’s function later in the day. See if you can work it out - although those who follow me on twatter will know, as I’ve discussed it previously. Photo by M.S. Gerritsen of a rather remarkable bike.

You need both images to make sense of it. Must have taken ages to learn how to ride it. Photo by M.S. Gerritsen.

This entry was posted in Bad Science, cycling, Features, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The chain gang

  1. pedro says:

    Hi Bob,

    Last year I went to have a look at the Gate and Piers at the old Villiers factory in Wolverhampton. They are a Grade II Listed Building, having been taken from Tong in Shropshire in 1977 where they were designed by Capability Brown in 1765; they can be seen here as they were in 1977…

    http://www.wolverhamptonhistory.org.uk/work/industry/motor2

    Grade II Listed Building see here…

    http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-378479-gates-gatepiers-and-flanking-walls-at-en

    Of course when I found them in 2011 there was not much left, see here…

    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/65664663

    All the best Peter

  2. pedro says:

    Sorry the link for the present photo should be…

    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/65701157

    Regards Peter

  3. Pingback: Going by the book « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.