*1. The Finest Bicycle Built Today

The Finest Bicycle Built Today…

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True to its heroic namesake, in the good old days when Great Britain still had an empire, ‘Hercules Cycle & Motor Co Ltd’ was the biggest bicycle manufacturer in the world.

1. This Online Museum is dedicated firstly to the memory of Ted and Harry Crane and the ingenuity, craft, inspiration and sheer hard graft it took to build their business from nothing into the top position worldwide.

2. But every successful business requires great teamwork. We never forget the many thousands of ordinary folk who worked at Hercules and, later, Tube Investments and Raleigh, to manufacture, market and distribute the bicycles that bear the slogan: ‘The Finest Bicycle Built Today.’ The photo below, from 1931, shows workers applying protective wrapping to finished cycles.

3. Then, of course, there are Hercules owners and riders, like myself, who, more than fifty years on, are still enjoying the fruits of those Herculean labours. Our Hercules bicycles are so well-built they ride as well now as they did when they were new.

4. Finally, welcome all of you who discover this website and enjoy reading about Great Britain’s vehicle manufacturing history. And, if you’ve not yet discovered the many pleasures of vintage vehicle ownership, an old Hercules bicycle would be an excellent place to start. They’re still reasonably priced, spares are easy to find, and they represent a wonderful opportunity to enjoy vintage cycling for moderate outlay.

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CREDITS

Many thanks to various folks who’ve helped me with source material:

Michelle McGeachy, VMCC Library

Andrew Pattle, inspirational creator of the ‘Moped Archive’ for scans.

Science & Society Picture Library, http://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk for permission to reproduce low-resolution images from their website.

http://madeinbirmingham.org for history of the company

Howie Cohen and Sam C. Lingo from USA for scans

Richard Jones for a photo of his Hercules sign on front page, a very rare version of this sign (the only one known to exist with the company logo on it).

Andrew Millward, Hercules marque specialist VCC.

Published on October 29, 2008 at 12:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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