1910s Alldays ‘Standard’ Carrier Tricycle
The industrial tricycle was developed in England in the 1870s. It was commonly used by grocers, bakers, druggists and other tradesmen.
By 1939, in London, there were 4,000 ice cream tricycles. Delivery tricycles are still used all over the world, but especially in Asia where they can carry loads of up to 1,000 pounds.
Companies such as Alldays & Onions made a standard carrier tricycle, but would also adapt the delivery box according to a customers needs.
THE IMPROVED ALLDAYS CARRIER BOX TRICYCLE
At the 1910 National Cycle Show, Alldays & Onions introduced an improved version of their Imperial Matchless Roadster bicycle, as well as this new box carrier using the innovations in their 1909 patent number 3454, below.
As you can see by comparing this tricycle with the original design in the 1900 catalogue further down the page (and an interim version the 1908 photo below), the main frame was considerably strengthened, and an extra vertical tube was added. It also featured an improved front axle and steering mechanism, so that it was able to carry heavier loads.
1920 ALLDAYS BICYCLE CATALOGUE
Alldays & Onions Ltd
Great Western Works, Birmingham
This Alldays Delivery Tricycle was commissioned by a firm of Gent’s Outfitters Watson Prickard Ltd of 16 North John St, Liverpool. Though the company subsequently moved premises, the Watson Prickard Building still exists at this address.
I found some old laundry boxes in the Alldays, so I assume that one of its duties involved delivering and collecting dry cleaning.
Alldays & Onions Ltd History
The company was founded by a family of craftsmen named Onions who manufactured bellows in their shed in the shadow of Dudley Castle. This was in 1650, during the reign of King James the First.
By 1770 the company was trading under the name J C Onions and, having established a virtual monopoly in and around Birmingham, the company soon began manufacturing portable forges in addition to bellows. During the 19th century the company was appointed bellow makers to her Majesty’s ordinance and increased production, supplying forges and bellows to the new British colonies abroad.
In 1885 a merger with a local rival manufacturer William Alldays saw the foundation of a new company, Alldays & Onions Ltd and advances in technology allowed the company to expand into new areas of production including water turbines, centrifugal fans, positive pressure blowers, pneumatic hammers, cupolas, furnaces, smithy equipment and a huge range of cycles and tricycles.
Cycles were made under the name ‘Alldays Cycles.’ They started making cars in Birmingham in 1898, and motorcycles in 1903 at their Great Western Works. When WW1 ended the company produced the Enfield-Alldays series LC, but in due course vehicle production ceased and the company looked to different products for survival.
After World War II, with changing market requirements, Alldays & Onions Ltd establish itself as a market leader in the manufacture of centrifugal fans expanding into the field of dust collecting and chemical engineering. In 1969 the company merged with rival fan company J.C.Peacock forming Alldays Peacock & Co Ltd and in the 1980s the company expanded its factory in Weston-Super-Mare in Somerset and began selling abroad. In 2005 Alldays Peacock was purchased by the world’s leading fan-maker, the German-based Witt Group and became part of Witt UK; manufacturing moved to Halifax, West Yorkshire.
Though they no longer make bicycles, it’s refreshing to see that this manufacturing company has survived, with various mergers and changes, for around 360 years.
1900 ALLDAYS CATALOGUE
These pictures are from the 1900 Alldays catalogue. You can see the earlier design of the carrier tricycle, and compare it with the subsequent design of carrier tricycle, patented in 1909.
1920 ALLDAYS & ONIONS LOW GRAVITY TRADESMAN’S BICYCLE
Alldays & Onions Ltd
Matchless Works, Birmingham, 1908.
Since the introduction of this cycle to our catalogue, it has met with an unprecedented success, we having received large orders from several regiments, volunteer corps, etc including the British South Africa Co, for use in the Transvaal; and the British Government selected it in competition for the War Office Department, and gave us large contracts during 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1903, 1904 and 1905. We have also supplied it to the P.O. Department and the Admiralty, and umerous Colonial and Foreign Governments.
Having been amongst the first to notice the value of the cycle as an adjunct to military equipment, we have for several years given special attention to this branch of the trade, with the result that we can now supply machines for military and similar purposes that do give every satisfaction. We have, during the last few years, had the honour of supplying machines for Military, Postal, Telegraph, and other Government Departments, as well as to several of the cycle corps connected with various regiments both at home and abroad, including the British South Africa Company, Admiralty and War Office, in July 1898, 1899 and 1901. Further contracts for cycles have also been received from the War Office viz January 8th and 24th, and February 28th, 1901, for 800 cycles; another large order in July 1904, and again in July 1905, and several subsequent contracts over 1906 and 1907.
The machine illustrated will be found to be admirably adapted for the above requirements, being specially strong, and constructed to stand the wear and tear which such cycles necessarily have to undergo. It is similar in finish, etc to our well-known Imperial Roadster, given on page 13.
The machines, can be fitted with Rifle Clips, Sword Clips, and other accessories to order, as may be required. The position of the gun in the photograph is, in our opinion, the most convenient, but the clips can be fitted to any desired position.
UPDATE 12th March 2009: When I saw the above badge advertised for sale on ebay, I did an internet search for Onions Equipment and came up with the brochure below, which appears to show that either Onions had merged at some time with Vickers, or that Vickers manufactured and/or marketed equipment for which Onions had the patent.