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Page 427. 1940s Mercury Military Roadster

1940s Mercury Military Roadster

Officially described as: ‘Bicycle, Trade Pattern, Heavy Duty’

Series 6/VEH/17245

With Military Accessories, Transfers & Tags

24″ Frame

26″ Wheels

26 x 2 x 1 3/4 Tyres

Ready for Action!

 

This is an original military Mercury that was sold many years ago in an army auction in Wiltshire. My friend Richard bought all eleven of them. They are distinguishable by their army tags around the top tubes.

He sold five, and I purchased the rest from him over the past five years. I’m keeping three (you can see them on the www.BSAbikes.co.uk Military Bicycle Museum website: a BSA & a Mercury Army Medic’s bikes and a Mercury Fire Service bike); I scrapped one (a Fire Service bike which was too badly damaged, using the parts to restore my Fire Service Mercury); and I’m selling the remaining two on ebay now.

The one available in this auction has been repainted. The other one on ebay is unpainted and completely original.

When Richard repainted this one, he painted around the army markings on the front and rear mudguard.

This one has an original army rear carrier, offset to allow a rifle butt to rest on it while the barrel is strapped to the front of the top tube with a short leather strap. So, if you want to use it for displays with a rifle mounted on the bike, it’s very easy to set up by cutting a leather belt short for the front mount, and using the rest of the belt to strap around the rifle butt and the carrier.

Mercury military bicycles were not used during WW2 (Mercury Industries was formed in 1947), but are the same specification as the BSA Mk V and officially known as ‘Bicycle, Trade Pattern, Heavy Duty.’ Many were used on airfields. The British Army was busy after WW2, with a lot of post-war work in Europe, supporting the US Army, campaigns in India, Palestine, Africa, Malaya, Suez, etc, and these bicycles saw military service.

These are the only two of these military bikes with army tags that are available for public purchase. When they have been snapped up by collectors, there will not be any more of them to buy. So if you want one, I suggest you allow your trigger finger unhindered access in its trajectory toward the buy-it-now button …and pay for it before asking your wife’s permission. (You’d be surprised how often I have to deliver a bike around the corner from the buyer’s house :)

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

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Mercury Industries (Birmingham) Ltd

Stratford Rd, Birmingham. Registered Company Number 419738.

As a cycle manufacturing company, Mercury Industries (Birmingham) Ltd was very different from its competitors. The retail home market was not its priority. Instead, Mercury was established to provide exports and fulfill ministry contracts.

The company was formed in 1946, with premises in Stratford Rd, Birmingham, and trading as the Mercury Cycle Company.

Throughout the War, the Government had issued contracts to industry. British industry was, in effect, nationalized.

This arrangement was dismantled only slowly when the War ended. One reason was the top priority of procuring foreign exchange by suppressing demand in the home market and maximizing exports.

As Mercury Industries Ltd was so successful in their postwar venture, I find it hard to believe that the Government and key players in the bicycle manufacturing industry did not have major involvement.

As journalist and Mercury expert Mark Daniels describes it:

Their rise was meteoric: within a year the business relocated to Dock Lane, Dudley to accommodate increasing demand and rocketing North American exports projected at $1,500,000!

By 1948 some 200 employees were already on the payroll; then with the 1950s came the cyclemotor and new opportunities for the first motorised products. These were specially constructed, heavy gauge gents ‘Diamond’ and ladies ‘Open’ style Mercury frames to mount the Cyclemaster unit, made specifically for this purpose and supplied with no rear wheel. 1953 listings added a Pillion frame with pad and footrests, and the Roundsman 1cwt rated delivery frame with small front wheel and large carrier. All four products continued up to 1955.

Without direct public sales during its years of bicycle manufacture, Mercury Industries did not advertise until around 1952 when it became involved with Cyclemasters and, subsequently, scooters. Its scooters were totally misconceived, and this led directly to the collapse of the company and liquidation, in 1958.

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THE PAINTED & UNPAINTED MERCURY’S TOGETHER FOR COMPARISON 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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