After absorbing George Townsend, the Eadie Mfg Co had the facilities to establish themselves as cycle manufacturers. As well as selling components as Eadie Mfg Co, they marketed complete machines under their own and, later, the Royal Enfield name.
Customers could either buy a complete bicycle from the Eadie Mfg Co (as above), or a local builder could buy the components through the trade to create a bespoke machine for a customer. The latter option was cheaper and, as it provided the same top quality parts, it was a much more popular choice. It was particularly practical for a specialised machine such as a track racer.
1899 Eadie Fittings Track Racer
1st Pattern Eadie Coaster Brake
(Made under license from Morrow)
The open fork crown on this bicycle is from 1898; they introduced an enclosed pattern in 1899. The chainwheel is also the 1898 pattern. While using their latest components on their own bicycles (i.e. Royal Enfield), suppliers such as Eadie offered their previous years’ fittings at discount prices through the cycle trade. That way, the cheaper bicycles built of their fittings did not directly compete with their own complete machines.
Dedicated racing bicycles of the Victorian era are much sought-after. With its high gearing this Eadie Fittings Machine would probably have been used in amateur track events. My friend Ben, the previous owner, reports very little wear in the bottom bracket and all other parts are in very good condition. It’s believed that the owner kept it stored unused for nostalgic reasons for most of its life after riding it in his youth. It’s probably time it was used again 🙂
Observe this pattern of chainwheel in the 1898 Eadie advert below.
EADIE MFG CO
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.
1898: AT THE EADIE WORKS
THE MORROW COASTER BRAKE
Above is an illustration of the early pattern Morrow Coaster, as used by Eadie in this machine. It fits to the chain stay on the right side of the bicycle, whereas the later Morrow Coasters fitted on the left side (below).
Below is an example of one of many of the small companies that used Eadie Fittings for its bicycles. As you can see, Norton & Sons also offered a free Morrow Coaster with all machines sold in September 1899.