After absorbing George Townsend, the Eadie Mfg Co worked hard to establish themselves as cycle manufacturers; you can see their advert, above, in 1893, for frame fittings. As well as selling components as Eadie Mfg Co, they marketed complete machines under the Royal Enfield name. By 1901, with the introduction of the Girder frame model, everything started to fall into place for the company. Immediately identifiable as a Royal Enfield, the Girder soon became their top selling model.
Meanwhile, Eadie Mfg Co focussed on perfecting a coaster hub brake, with the result that Royal Enfields for 1903 were fitted with the new coaster, giving them a major advantage in the British market. The Eadie Coaster was an excellent hub, and soon dominated the British market. As well as the income drawn from licensing its use, it also gave Eadie an excellent bargaining tool in dealing with other cycle manufacturers, as well as with the gear syndicate who were pooling patents and resources to develop a three-speed hub gear. BSA and Eadie liaised to mutual benefit, with BSA eventually buying the Eadie company (1907).
But the bicycle featured here was not built with either of the innovative new features. It is the last of the big old 1890s Royal Enfield roadsters, with an 1898 Eadie chainwheel. And, because of the new lightweight Royal Enfield frames introduced in 1901, almost overnight it became a dinosaur.
Its stopping process involves a pedal-operated band brake. Band brakes were only used for a short period (1899-1900) by most companies: they were made obsolete by much cheaper and effective cable operated Bowden rear brakes which were adopted across the industry from 1900 (and the Eadie Coaster introduced soon after).
Inverted lever rim brakes were fitted to Royal Enfields from 1902 onwards, and this 1899 bicycle was updated with an inverted lever handlebar accordingly. (A later mudguard set was added when it was restored twenty years ago).
1899 Royal Enfield
Eadie Band Brake
1899 FIRST PATTERN EADIE BAND BRAKE
Compare the second pattern Eadie Band Brake, pictured above, with the first pattern example on this bicycle, whose sprocket pattern is identical to the 1898 Eadie chainwheel.
The company was acquired by Albert Eadie (who died 17 Apr. 1931) with other businessmen in November 1891 by the acquisition of George Townsend, & Co.
Eadie obtained the services of Robert Walker Smith, formerly of Daniel Rudge & Co, where he had been assistant manager, and now became works manager. Production continued at the Townsend premises at Givry Works, Hunt End, Redditch although the ‘Ecossais’ name was dropped and the model name ‘Enfield’ was first used from October 1892.
A new factory was laid down in 1896 at Lodge Road and Union Street, Redditch. On 25 June 1896 the company became the New Eadie Manufacting Co. Ltd and continued to make both components and complete machines, primarily for the trade. Eadie also formed the New Enfield Cycle Co. Ltd on 1 July 1896. The Eadie company marketed an eccentric chain adjuster in 1897 which others copied. The American ‘Morrow’ free wheel was made under licence from 1899. A cross and drop- frame machine was made from c.1901. The cross-frame had struts to the chainstays, similar to the Royal Enfield, and was probably the first with this design. In 1901 the New Beeston Cycle Co became defunct and the Eadie Manufacturing Co acquired the machinery to increase production of free wheels under licence from the James Cycle Co. Ltd.
A double cross frame was produced in 1901 which provided a very stiff mounting for the bracket. The ‘Fagan’ 2-speed hub was made under licence from 1903. The Eadie 2-speed coaster hub was made from 1905. The Eadie company was acquired by the Birmingham Small Arms Co. Ltd (BSA) in 1907.