The crossed tubes of the truss frame, produced from c.1892, were claimed to give greater rigidity.
t was claimed that the direct strain from head to bracket was dealt with more thoroughly and strains from twisting were also combated, creating an infinitely more rigid frame. But, essentially, whether it improved the bicycle or not, there was a good case for creating unique features in bicycles so they stood out in the crowd and attracted extra attention from the cycling press. Elswick specialized in cross frames with ‘twisted’ down tubes, which they called cross truss frames; they differed from Raleigh’s crossframe patent, no doubt to avoid paying patent fees, though they claimed to have invented the idea separately. Many companies had been busy building crossframes, because frame strength was a key issue of the day: frames were getting lighter by the year, and cycle enthusiasts were keen to put new designs through their paces to find their stress points. As well as crossframes, many of the top manufacturers were adding extra tubes to their diamond frame bikes to add ‘psychological’ strength to the machine, ie to make it appeal to riders who felt they needed a stronger frame on their bike: large bikes had two top tubes, Royal Enfield was successful with their ‘Girder’ frames, and Premier used an extra tube in the opposite direction to the Girder. Elswick did also try out the American Iver Johnson patent design, described by them as a truss-tube, but also known as an ‘arch-frame.’
The ‘Popular Truss’ is particularly interesting because it uses the cross frame features on the company’s loopframe design.
1924 Lady’s Elswick Popular Truss
Frame No 4488H
ELSWICK-HOPPER CYCLE & MOTOR CO
The Elswick Cycle Co. had taken over Newton, William & Co.in 1891. Elswick is a suburb of Newcastle on Tyne, Northumber-land, the premises being at Elswick Court, off Northumber-land Street. On 4 October 1893 the company was registered as a limited company, with capital of £20,000 in £10 shares, but a month later the works were burned down. In June 1896 a prospectus was published for a new company, Elswick Cycles Co. Ltd (registered number 48,200). The 1895-97 trade mark had registered number 158,336. On 9 February 1901 the company was re-named Elswick Cycles & Manufacturing Co. Ltd (registered number 252,912).520 The company motto was “Fortiter Defendit Triumphans”. By 1908 the company was in financial difficulty and went into liquidation although it was still advertising from its Newcastle address in 1910 and appears in directories in 1911.
The patents, trademarks and goodwill were purchased from the liquidator by Fred Hopper in 1911, with Henry Wilson and G. H. Nowell, for £100 and began trading as Elswick Cycle & Motor Manufacturing Co.
The Elswick-Hopper Cycle & Motor Co. was subsequently formed in May 1913.
The crossed tubes of the truss frame, produced from around 1892, were claimed to give greater rigidity. The company made the Elswick Disc-Adjusting Hub. Showrooms were held at 8a and 9 Great Chapel Street, London in 1908. In that year a selection of models on offer included the ‘Gentleman’s Elswick’ at £21, ‘Lady’s Elswick’ at £21, ‘Gentleman’s Famous Elswick Extra Light Roadster’ at £15 15s, the ‘Lady’s Famous Elswick Curved Frame’ at £15 15s., the ‘Gentleman’s Elswick Special Cross Truss’ at £12 12s., and the ‘Gentleman’s Elswick Popular Path Racer’ at £10 10s.
1900 GENTLEMEN’S ELSWICK POPULAR TRUSS LIGHT ROADSTER