The year 1895 was an important year in terms of bicycle design.
With major advances in the lightness of tubing and frame construction, the first diamond frame roadsters were introduced, coming onto the market in 1896. Also, Brooks patented a new saddle clamp, requiring a wider seat pillar.
However, these two dynamic changes in design created a headache for all the major manufacturers – what to do with all their old stock?
Pre-1896 bikes were immediately identifiable because they were ‘upslopers’ – i.e. the top tube sloped upwards – while the latest machines had parallel top tubes. The manufacturers took various steps to dispose of their upslopers; most were sent to provincial and foreign depots, to become discounted lines. Humber had a French subsidiary in Paris (which subsequently merged with Gladiator, Clement and Phebus), as well as agencies in the British Colonies. These were ideal locations for outdated machines. Marriot & Cooper of London also advertised Humber bicycles (Humber, Marriot and Cooper had previously been in business together). They marketed Humbers with a special badge, showing their company name plus that of ‘The Humber’ as if it were the model.
The example featured here was sold by the French Humber Company, of 19 Rue du Quatre-Septembre, Paris, and is similar to the Humber Model B shown in the 1894 Humber catalogue (below). With many racing successes for Humber with similar models in previous years, this style of Humber became a very popular bicycle around the world.
1895 Humber ‘Model B’ Safety
Export Model: Paris, France; and other Agencies
28″ Equal Wheels
1894 HUMBER: LA PREMIER MARQUE DU MONDE