Page:The Cycle Industry (1921).djvu/88

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men, women, youths and girls, engaged in the manufacture of bicycles and their component parts, exclusive of those who make the accessories such as lamps, saddles, pumps, oil tins, and similar articles which do not come under the classification of a complete bicycle.

The American Bicycle and its Influence on British Trade. There have been American invasions of this country by makers of agricultural machinery, boots, domestic machinery, typewriters, motor cars, and, of course, bicycles.

Of those articles enumerated all have come to stay except bicycles. Various opinions have been expressed as to the reason why American bicycles did not attract popular favour in this country. They were largely advertised, important firms rented expensive shops for retail purposes, and at one time it looked as though the American bicycle would catch on. The attempted invasion failed; a small army reached our shores but it got swallowed up and the officers retired with discomfiture.

The reason may be explained as follows. American makers produce one pattern of any article in large quantities and expect all purchasers at home and abroad to buy what they make. The American bicycles that reached this country were no exception to the general rule. They were made for American boulevards and asphalte roads of cities and were totally unsuited for touring and general riding conditions in this country. The mudguards and rims were of wood, the tyres were single tubes that could only be repaired with rubber plugs (a method not understood in England), the brakes were inadequate for our hilly roads, and the only redeeming feature of these machines was lightness. They arrived at a time when home manufacturers were