Although large French companies such as Peugeot were well-established even before the advent of cycling, many small French manufacturers started out in the 1890s as local agents for bicycles made in England and the USA. The advantage of this was that the foreign companies, keen to establish a market in France, would provide stock and a degree of funding, as well as an excellent back-up service with expertise and supply of parts. Once they had gained experience and established a customer base, many of these agents subsequently created their own cycle businesses, using bought-in components and adding their own head-badges. Le Globe was one of many companies that was established in this fashion.
1904 Le Globe
‘Modele Extra Luxe’
BSA Fittings Chainset
28″ x 1 5/8 x 1 3/8 Tyres
34″ Stand-over Height (crossbar to ground)
The well-preserved velo le Globe is an attractive early French lightweight that’s very usable. The previous owner fitted it with a Torpedo coaster hub which is a practical option. It’s unrestored cosmetically, but has gone through my workshops and is fitted with new Schwalbe balloon tyres. It’s now ready for a new owner to fall in love with it.
GEORGE HETLEY & L. DELYS,
The Le Globe story starts with George Hetley who, in 1889, had an agency in Paris for the sale of bicycles made by the British company Buckingham & Adams Ltd, which was run by J. H. Adams and F. J. Osmond and produced ‘Buckingham’ high-wheelers from the Whitworth Works, Arthur Street, Small Heath, Birmingham. Buckingham & Adams went out of business in early 1891, to be taken over by a syndicate called the New Buckingham & Adams Cycle Co Ltd, and managed by Mr. H. P. Cook, formerly of William Bown. Adams and Osmond moved to the Whitworth Cycle Co. Ltd as sales manager and works manager.
Perhaps as a result of the above, George Hetley started up his own company, Le Globe, in Neuilly, France. In 1891, a company with the same name – The Globe – and almost identical head badge was established in England, by Clarke, Cluley & Co, at the Globe Works, Well Street, Coventry. With Hetley’s previous collaboration with a British company, it seems likely the two businesses were connected.
Leopold Delys manufactured bicycles under his own name: see the 1899 catalogue below, illustrating the Bicyclette Delys Modele C Extra Luxe, an 1899 ancestor of the bicycle featured here. According to research by Claude Lafont, the great grandson of Leopold Delys:
Hi,My name is claude Lafont. I am Leopold Delys Grandsom
The bicyle you are selling on ebay is a great one et very rare
I confirm the date , about 1904.
I was looking for the brand manufacturer behind the george hetley’s bikes. My researches had driven me to The Leicester Cycle Co. I found an article in which the Leicester Cycle Co announce in 1891 that G Hetley is manager for their business in France. Moreover, the first model sold by G Hetley in France looks like the famous Peregrine you might know.
Maybe he had several partners. Which proof have you find to connect him with the British company Buckingham & Adams Ltd ?
L Delys, my Grandsome has never done business with G Hetley. He just bought his company in 1899. G Hetley was out.
Why ? I dont know.
My Grandsome was a manufacturer since 10 years but he had no brand. I thing He found a real business opportunity.
I would be very curious to know who will buy this superb bicycle. Do not hesitate to give my name to the next owner.
I have based my estimate of the age of this bicycle as 1904 because it’s fitted with a BSA ‘Y’ chainwheel available from 1904 to 1907 (see the chart below). The le Globe catalogue picture above illustrates a similar model from 1912, fitted with the BSA chainwheel available from 1908 onwards.
Chainrings up to 1899 had no more than 20 teeth and straight arms. From 1899 to 1903 the chainring was detachable and had `Y` arms. From 1904 to 1907 the arms took the form of an `X`(as on this bicycle). From 1908 the letters BSA were included.
For comparison, see the catalogue illustration below for the French 1900 BSA Fittings catalogue (showing the 1899-1903 chainwheel)
(The complete catalogue is available on this page – https://www.oldbike.eu/museum/1900-bsa-fittings-catalogue-french)
* My translation from French, with thanks to M Lafont and the excellent website – http://forum.tontonvelo.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1649