Thomas Humber started at age 13 in 1854 with a smith in Nottingham. After a number of different employers he started his own blacksmithy in Nottingham. He started making boneshakers from his home, 65 Northumberland Street, for his own use and a few acquaintances in 1868. With demand mounting he took premises at 29a Stretton Street, Nottingham and issued his first price list in 1873.
Two years later he took Thomas Rushforth Marriott into partnership to form Humber & Marriott. When Fred Cooper joined in 1877, the partnership became Humber, Marriott & Cooper and, with increasing demand, new, larger, premises were built at Beeston, Notts. At that time there were 80 employees.
In 1885 the partnership was dissolved to become Humber & Co, and a rival ‘Humber’ operation was set up by Marriott & Cooper which had an equal right to use the Humber name. So Thomas Humber started calling his machines ‘Genuine Humber’.