Thursday, 16 August 2012

Sunbeam Motorcycles

Sunbeam was a British manufacturing marque that produced bicycles and motorcycles from 1912 to 1956.

Sunbeam was founded by John Marston making bicycles and, on the suggestion of his wife Ellen, Marston adopted the trademark brand "Sunbeam". The Sunbeam Motor Car Company Ltd was founded in 1905. However, suffering from a slump which hit car making, Marston was pushed into making motorcycles from 1912 onwards. Following in the tradition of their bicycles, the motorcycles were of high-quality, usually with a single cylinder, and known as the "Gentleman's Machine". Sunbeam motorcycles performed well in the early days of the famous TT (Tourist Trophy) races in the Isle of Man. After the First World War the Marston company was sold to a consortium. In 1919, the consortium became part of Nobel Industries Limited. In 1927 Nobel Industries amalgamated with Brunner Mond Ltd. to form Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). Read more on Wikipedia

Lowry refers to the company's motorcycles in his short story 'Enter One In Sumptuous Armour'; ""Fine motorcycles whizzed by or splashed past us:....two Sunbeams with laminated spring forks." (Psalms Pg. 233). Lowry's brother Wilfrid was given a present of a Sunbeam motorcycle for his rugby triumphs. Wilfrid took Lowry and his other brother Russell for rides around the Wirral. (Gordon Bowker Pursued By Furies Pg. 23). Russell later inherited the motorcycle off Wilfrid and he took Lowry for rides to the cinema etc (Pg. 27). Later refers to a Sunbeam in his short story 'Elephant and Colosseum'; " .... upon the countenance of the great George Dance, as in the Isle of Man he negotiated Ballig Bridge, when it seemed he was going to win the Senior Tourist Trophy motorbicycle race upon a Sunbeam with one cylinder." (Pg. 204).

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