Thomas Humber circa 1890
|Born||16 October 1841
Andrew St, Brightside, Sheffield, England
|Died||24 November 1910|
|Occupation||Entrepreneur, manufacturer of bicycles,|
Thomas Humber (1841–1910) was a British cycle manufacturer who founded the Humber bicycle company in 1869 in Beeston, Nottinghamshire. By 1896 the company, under new management, ventured into Humber motor cars and became the first maker of series production cars in England.
Thomas Humber was born in Andrew Street, Brightside, Sheffield on 16 October 1841 the son of Samuel Humber, a tailor, and his wife Lucy née Turton. His parents moved to Kingston upon Hull when he was 5 years old and he attended the Salthouse Lane school. On leaving school he was apprenticed to the blacksmith William Campion, and then worked on sewing and weaving machines.
His son Samuel was born circa 1855 in Nottingham and worked as a bicycle fitter in the Beeston factory.
William Campion visited Paris in 1867 and purchased a simple Michaux velocipede where the pedals acted directly on the front wheel. Humber improved this design and in 1868 created a safety bicycle whereby the pedals drove the rear wheel. Demand was great, so in 1869 Thomas founded 'Humber & Company Limited' at Beeston, Nottinghamshire.
In 1887 Thomas Humber sold the company[clarification needed] to Joseph Horton of Birmingham who already owned the 'Joseph Devey' bicycle company, and production was transferred to the Devey factory at Ashes Works, Pelham Street, Wolverhampton, plus a factory in Great Brick-kiln Street. By 1896 the company had a factory in Pountney Street, and showrooms in Queen Street. In 1900 Humber moved production to the Stoke district in Coventry.
Actually, from the Humber Museum's website: Humber was founded by Thomas Humber in 1868 to make the Ordinary. With the first diamond-frame in 1884, they became renowned bicycle manufacturers. Financial whiz-kid Terah Hooley subsequently took over the company and Humber left in 1892. http://www.oldbike.eu/humber/?page_id=60
Humber Manufacturing after direct association with Thomas Humber
The 'sale' to Joseph Horton in 1887 may mark the end of Thomas Humber's direct association with the elements of the business. Harry Lawson had acquired the Humber name by circa 1896. Some reports claim that Thomas left the business in 1892. To be clarified.
In 1887 Humber went into partnership with 'Marriott and Cooper' for whom Daniel Rudge then built 'Humber' bicycles in Wolverhampton. Thus 'Genuine Humber' was coined to distinguish Thomas Humber's cycles.
The company's expansion in the 1870s and 1880s culminated in factories in Nottingham, Beeston and Wolverhampton and Coventry in 1889. They produced cycles, tricycles and quadricyles. By 1900 Humber Ltd was one of the largest bicycle firms in Britain.
As a successful cycle manufacturer Humber was naturally interested motor manufacture. In 1896 Humber Motorcycles produced the first practical motorcycle made in the UK by fitting a bicycle with an E. J. Pennington two-horsepower motor.
In 1896 Humber built a prototype and nine production motorcars in the new Coventry premises. They were exhibited at the 'Stanley Cycle Show' in London, the first series production cars made in England.[a]
In 1896 the Humber name was associated with the French conglomerate Clement, Gladiator & Humber (France) Ltd that had merged the three cycle manufacturers under the leadership of Adolphe Clément, Lord Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, 20th Earl of Shrewsbury and (soon to be convicted) fraudster Harry John Lawson of Dunlop, in the form of the 'British Automobile Commercial Syndicate Ltd'.[b] The range of cycles was expanded with tricycles, quadricycles, a motorised bicycle, cars and motorcycles.
The Beeston factory employed over 2,000 people around 1900 and went on to produce the exclusive 'Beeston-Humber'. It was closed in 1907/1908 after financial problems, after Humber moved the whole operation, including 2–3,000 people, to Coventry.
In 1909, Humber opened an aircraft department where they built 50 Louis Blériot type monoplanes. This is assumed to not be directly associated with Thomas Humber as convicted fraudster Harry Lawson had by this time completed his '1 year of hard labour' and was to re-emerge as a director of the Blériot Manufacturing Aircraft Company Ltd., the English branch of Louis Blériot's aircraft company.
In 1910 a Humber aeroplane was used for the world's first air-mail service in India.
- Humber (bicycle)
- Humber Motorcycles
- Humber (car)
- List of bicycle manufacturing companies
- Raleigh Cycles – Biggest UK manufacture at one period.
a. ^ The Stanley Cycle Club organised the world's first cycle show (cycle fair) at the Agricultural Hall in Westminster, London, in 1876. It was a great success and was thus repeated annually, although by 1892 the English 'National Show' in Islington had surpassed it. The 13th Stanley Cycle Club exhibition on 27 January 1890 included 230 exhibitors and 1,500 cycles. (New York Times, February 1897)
b. ^ By 1896 the title of Humber cycles had been acquired from Joseph Horton by entrepreneur and (soon to be convicted) fraudster Harry Lawson, whilst the cycle factory of Thomas Humber at Beeston, Nottinghamshire started adding the soubriquet 'Genuine Humber' to its logo. (Flink The Automobile Age p. 21)
- Paul Freund, 'Humber, Thomas (1841–1910)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, May 2012
- Mr. Thomas Humber. Obituary. The Times, Saturday, 26 November 1910; pg. 15; Issue 39440
- The Humber Car Museum
- Local History, Transport Museum, Humber
- Costers, Humber,Rolls Royce & Chrysler. – Humber : Historiek (Nederlandse)
- Family Search database, 1881, Thomas Humber
- EHG Bikes – Humber Motorcycles
- Lugged Steel – Charles Terront
- Le Petit Braquet – Charles Terront
- French Wiki – Charles Terront
- Memoire du Cyclisme – palmares – Charles Terront
- A Hands – A short history of Paris–Brest–Paris by Gary Smith
- Buy Vintage, Royal Enfield, History of Humber
- Rootes Chrysler History, Humber
- "Humber". Retrieved 6 July 2008.
- Kemp, Andrew (2001). Classic British Bikes. Bookmart Ltd. pp. 11–17. ISBN 1-86147-058-4.
- New York Times, February 1897, Growth of the Cycle Show by O.P.Vilson
- Graces Guide, The Stanley Cycle Club
- Georgano, N. (2000). Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. London: HMSO. ISBN 1-57958-293-1.
- Yesterdays, Antique motorcycles, Auguste Clement
- The Story of the Bicycle by John Woodforde
- Beeston-Notts Industrial History
- "Winding Up of an Aircraft Company., In Re Bleriot Manufacturing Aircraft Company (Limited)". The Times. 20 January 1916.