Page:The Cycle Industry (1921).djvu/85

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CHAPTER XI

THE CYCLE BOOM

The great boom year in the history of cycling and cycle manufacture has had a tremendous influence on the trade, and history has undoubtedly repeated itself in connection with the sale and manufacture of motor cars and motor cycles.

The boom year in cycling occurred in 1895–96, when the popularity of the pastime for fashionable women became an accomplished fact, and there was a sudden rush for bicycles by a class of people who had never previously given the sport a single thought.

Manufacturers became so full of orders that could not be executed that the astute financial company promoter was attracted to Coventry, Birmingham, and other towns, and the cycle-maker, who had up to that time practically depended on financial assistance from local banks and business friends and acquaintances, found that the most tempting offers were made if they would only allow the company promoter to step in and handle their business by offering it for public subscription.

Some of the larger and better known factories were purchased by the financiers and refloated for enormous sums, far above their previous values. Large amounts went down in the prospectuses for goodwill, patents and other items, which were not very tangible as assets when the inevitable slump came.

Money poured into the coffers of men who had done nothing to build these businesses; they had only been astute enough to see that the market was ripe for flotation, and as the public cried for cycle shares they

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