English Vintage Bicycle Advertising Poster for ‘Sunbeams’, 1896
Sunbeam Cycles made by John Marston Limited of Wolverhampton was a British brand of bicycles, later on moving into motorcycles as well. The first Sunbeam bicycles were exhibited at the Stanley Show in London during February 1889! There were 13 bicycles and tricycles on display.
The story is told that John’s wife, Ellen, saw the sun reflected in the high gloss finish, and so the bicycle became known as the Sunbeam (the name being registered in 1888).
This poster shows Sunbeam introducing the new model in 1896, with an inclosed, lubricated chain case, (‘the little oil bath!’). Advertised is the strength of the frame, and its color enamel finish. Notice the 3 people standing on the cycle, no problem! One woman in white and red, one man in a tan suit cheering with his red scarf, and a women in a blue dress & tan jacket, watching the bicycle race. Notice to the right (near the scoreboard) all the folks gambling on the race.
On the bottom left, a flabbergasted man stares amazed at the new Sunbeam model.
The Sunbeam title is in bright blue, wavy across the top. ‘3 to 1’ is no match for the Sunbeam cycle!
On the bottom right, the manufacturer and inventor’s name is in black lettering, with Wolverhampton in red below.
Ranked as a first class machine at a first class price!
Over the years, through several different transfers of ownership, in 1943, Sunbeam Bicycles was bought out by BSA (Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited).
The Sunbeam was designed to last a gentleman a lifetime, and such is their longevity that models over a century old still hold its prestige.
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