1891 Calcott ‘XL’ Crossframe Safety22″ Frame
30″ /28″ Wheels with Cushion (Solid) Tyres
1886 crossframes had unsupported crosstubes. By 1888, to strengthen the crosstube, manufacturers added main stays above and below. By 1890 most crossframes had crosstubes that fitted into the headstock. But some manufacturers persevered with centre steering as in this Calcott machine (the entire front end can be detached by removing the top nut at the steering head). Cushion tyres, ie wider solid tyres, were a feature of 1890 and 1891 safety bikes. Calcott Bros were a small manufacturer, which would explain why they did not make annual upgrades to their crossframe model. It is a very well-built machine, and they no doubt had a good customer base without needing to implement the latest improvements like the top manufacturers.
It’s likely that this was actually their 1889 model which they continued to sell until replacing it in 1892 with an ‘upsloper’ diamond frame model.
This rare machine is in good order and ready to ride.
CALCOTT BROS & E.J WEST
Far Gosforth Street Works, Coventry
Enoch John West started at Singer Cycle Co and joined up with the Calcotts to form Calcott Bros & West in 1888 (or 1886 according to other sources). The company sold ‘XL’ cycles from their premises in Much Park Street, and subsequently at Far Gosforth St Works. By 1891, they were offering eight models.
E.J West left at the end of that year to set up his own company E.J. West & Co Ltd, and in 1897 began designing cars, quadricycles, tricycles and motorcycles. (He also manufactured under the name of Progress Cycle Co). The company went on to produce over five hundred vehicles (of which there are three survivors still running) before going into liquidation in November 1903. He nevertheless continued making cars, including the ‘West’ Light Car and others. In 1915, became a manager at the White and Poppeengine works in Coventry.
Without West, the company name changed to Calcott Bros. In 1911 they manufactured a motorcycle fitted with a 3.5hpWhite and Poppe engine and, in 1913, made their first light cars. Bicycle production stopped at this time. The company apparently produced some 2,500 vehicles before eventually being taken over by the Singer Company in 1926. Below, you can see the Calcott premises in the early twenties.