The Rider of a T.T Frame has the comforting and satisfying knowledge that he has the Best Frame obtainable – one where every vital point of construction has been given very careful consideration. The Real Cyclist is quick to appreciate any improvement in cycle construction; it is of vital concern to him.
– Granby sales catalogue
The Taper Tube patent application was made in 1925, being granted the following year. M.G Selbach shared the start-up costs for manufacturing taper tube machines; the Selbach marque specialist says that he shared the patent, though the Granby marque specialist says he did not. Each company sold the first taper tube framed machines, and each company earned many accolades as a result. A Taper Tube Lightweight is a rare and collectible bicycle today, and it’s wonderful to be able to examine one closely and see what all the fuss was about…
1936 Granby Lightweight Club with Taper Tubes
28 x 1 5/8 tyres
Frame No 2241
Brooks B17 Saddle
Chater Lea Chainwheel
29″ standover height (ie crossbar to ground)
This Granby Taper Tube is in excellent restored condition, and set up as a fixed wheel machine. The finish is a metallic bronze, and its fittings include Weinmann caliper front brake, Chater Lea chainwheel (which cost £1 extra, according to the catalogue), continental 28″ wheels and Bluemel cream celluloid mudguards. Peter Hinds, the Granby marque specialist, explained to me that his records show that frame number 2272 was ordered in December, 1936.
338 New Cross Rd, London SE14
The Granby Cycle Co was probably the first British builder of lightweights, and was formed by Bill Ewings and Percy Dean, active members of Catford Cycle Club. Their name was taken from the pub next door to their premises, the Marquis of Granby.
With thanks to Peter Hinds, the marque specialist, for the following information (printed on Hilary Stone’s website):
In 1925 they made a patent application for their Taper Tube method of construction. This design was in pursuit of a “stiff” frame, the goal of many of the lightweight builders over the years. In 1926, the patent being granted, production then started of the Marque’s most famous product. – The Taper Tube and Taperlite models, these being favourites with many clubmen in the 1920’s & 30’s. Selbach produced, more or less simultaneously, a taper tube model although he did not hold the patent. It is thought that he had shared with Ewings & Dean the undoubtedly high cost of tooling up for the initial run of taper tube stock. Granby was also supplying taper tube sets to any builders who requested them.
The Marque continued to be popular with many club and racing men. In late 1936 or early 1937 Bill Ewings died and the business moved a few doors along the road to number 337. This move provided larger premises. Shortly after the outbreak of hostilities the shop closed and did not reopen at the end of the war.
Post war the ownership of the name passed to Ron Argent, another successful Catford racing man. Argent was somewhat of an entrepreneur having a range of business interests ranging from engineering manufacture to his chain of bicycle shops in North West Kent. He later became the landlord of The Star public house in Lingfield.
For a time immediately post war Percy Dean remained within the business on the frame building side. Although ridden by a number of class riders, including Peter Beardsmore, a BAR holder, the Marque never regained its pre-war reputation and status as one of the leading lightweight names. Some nice frames were built during the 1950’s but as with many lightweight builders the Marque struggled on during the Cycling & Mopeds era but by the mid 1960’s the name finally left the lightweight scene.