This page illustrates early safety bicycle saddles, springs and pillars. (This new page is a work in progress, so please be patient while I add to it)
Bicycle saddles were an extension of the horse saddle industry.
As you can see below, its British patent is 1894, and 1897 in the USA.
Top early British saddlemakers included J.B Brooks, Middlemore and Lampugh. You can see separate pages for their patents and examples of their saddles.
After the invention of the cycle saddle itself, one the most important subsequent innovations was the saddle clamp, or boss.
1895 was an important year for bicycle design.
It was the last year of the ‘upsloper’ style as, in 1896, the horizontal top tube became the industry standard.
Bicycle pedals were, up to this year, of the ‘slotted crank’ variety, ie using a nut and bolt to attach the pedal to its crank. In 1895, manufacturers started to adopt the new system of screw-fit pedals, which became the inustry standard in 1896.
Also, the diameter of seat pillars became wider in 1895 because a new style of saddle clamp (or ‘boss’) was introduced in 1895, which is the style that is still in use today…
BROOKS 1894 PATENT CYCLE- SADDLE ATTACHMENT-BOSS
Be it known that I, John Boultbee Brooks, manufacturer, trading as J.B. Brooks & Co, a subject of the Queen of Great Britain, residing at Criterion Works, Great Charles St, in the city of Birmingham, England, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Cycle-Saddle Attachment-Bosses, of which the following is a specification, and for which I have obtained Letters Patent of Great Britain bearing the date of the 24th September 1894, and numbered 18,090.
This invention relates to the attachment-bosses of cycle-saddles, and has for its object more efficient means of securing the saddle-framing to the boss and the boss to the L-pin or seat-pillar of a machine by one operation.
The saddle clamp or boss, attaching the saddle spring to the seat post, is an important feature of early saddles.
Prior to 1895, there was a variety of styles, invariably fastening the saddle spring to the seat post by tightening a nut onto a flattened area of the saddle spring. You can see an example on the 1889/1890 saddle above. The disadvantage of this design was that the nut and bolt was underneath the saddle spring, and the nut and bolt was therefore in a vertical position. Any loosening of the nut allowed the saddle to slip sideways.
There was a revolution in saddle clamp design in 1895, when a universal style was introduced by all the manufacturers. As you can see in the photo below, this provided two nuts onto a central bolt, positioned horizontally. This design was so successful that it is still in use today.
J.B Brooks patented their new design in England in 1894 and in the USA in 1897. You can see the patent drawings below.
1890 RALEIGH CATALOGUE:
LAMPLUGH & BROWN’S No 200
LAMPLUGH & BROWN’S No 205
LAMPLUGH & BROWN’S No 220
BROOKS ‘RELEASE’ SADDLE & SPRING
As its name implies, the chief feature of this saddle is that it can readily be released from its frame-work, and that without the use of any tool.
Springs give a most elastic and easy seat.
And the leather has our registered cutting, a preventative to all perineal pressure.
– from the 1890 Brooks Saddle Catalogue
c1900 BROWN BROTHERS No 99 LADY’S SADDLE
BROOKS B85 LADY’ SADDLE &
THE GOLDEN SUNBEAM’S PATENT SADDLE PIN
1903 BROOKS B100 SADDLE
PATENT ANTI-VIBRATORY MOTOR CYCLE SADDLE
1900-1911 N.A.B SPRING BALL SADDLE PILLAR