1900 Gentleman’s Elswick Special Cross Truss
1900 Elswick Gentleman’s Special Cross Truss Frame 23 inch ‘Model 6′ Bicycle
Elswick described their turn-0f-the-century cross-frames as ‘truss frames.’ The ‘truss’ description applied to any bicycle with various forms of extra frame tubes for added strength. In 1910, Hopper made a copy of Iver Johnson’s patented truss-bridge frame (below).
The interesting thing about this early cross-frame is that the bottom tubes cross each other.
You can see this in greater detail below.
It is often referred to as a ‘cross-tube’ but, as you can see from the catalogue below, Elswick themselves describe their patent design as a Cross Truss Frame.
ELSWICK CYCLES & MANUFACTURING Co
Walker Gate, Newcastle-on-Tyne
The Elswick name is reasonably well-known today, even though the company went bankrupt a hundred years ago. The reason is that the remains of the business was purchased by F. Hopper & Co in 1910, the company becoming Elswick Hopper. Bicycles were subsequently badged as Hopper, Elswick, and Elswick Hopper.
In the 1970s Coventry Eagle shared workspace with Elswick Hopper. Coventry Eagle changed its name to Falcon in 1970, and in 1978 Falcon was acquired by Elswick Hopper. So Elswick history is intertwined with several other well-known manufacturers.
You can see a potted history of F. Hopper Whitesmith & Machinist in the picture below, from the 1951 catalogue, showing 70 years of trading.