Page:The Cycle Industry (1921).djvu/106

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Arguing on these lines, the bicycle produced in a factory where all the parts are made from rough material should be obtainable by the public at a less figure than one put together by an assembler. However, this is not always the case, because the assembler often works himself, is perhaps assisted by relatives, and their time is not calculated at the same rate of remuneration as prevails in a modern factory. Again, the assembler's output is very small; he can, and does sell all he can put together practically without advertising costs, depending on personal recommendation.

Several large factories are now devoted almost exclusively to the production of bicycles for the trade, i.e. their owners cut off all advertising and publicity charges, reduce the expenses of their staff and other items to a low ebb, and undertake contracts to supply the large stores, co-operative societies, and others with bicycles that are sold under the trader's own name although he or they may have no factory. On the whole such machines are of a rather inferior grade, they are made to sell at a price and cannot be produced with the same care or with the conscientious spirit of a manufacturer who has a reputation to uphold. The fact that the purchaser who makes the contract for a quantity of bicycles is in a position to go elsewhere for a cheaper line at any time detracts from the esprit de corps that should exist among the staff of a large factory, and as they know that at any period the contract may be taken to another firm, they naturally lose interest in their work. Altogether, the maker who supplies the trade is in an unenviable position—he is not building up a business for himself, but adding, if his machines are good, to the lustre of others who only consider him so long as they are able to grind down his price to their required level of cheapness.