’ The answer, in short, is that I do not have time to tell you either. With an estimated 15,000 bicycle manufacturers, the odds are stacked against me recognizing yours; in any case, I do not claim to be an expert, just an assiduous recorder of information. ’ is a question I get asked a lot, nearly as much as: ‘I have a bicycle that looks like one of yours; if I send you pictures please can you identify it for me?Details of the following manufacturers have been published, so I hope this page can provide an easy reference point. RUDGE-WHITWORTH FRAME NUMBER DATING Production has been attributed as follows, with frame numbers as at 31 July each year: 1898, 70,000; 1900, 118,200; 1901, 140,754; 1902, 169,739; 1903, 210,950; 1904, 223,672; 1905, 272,991; 1906, 350,235; 1907, 427,114; 1908, 488,139; 1909, 538,390; 1910, 585,010; 1911, 626,400; 1912, 663,066; 1913, 697,524; 1914, 726,731; 1915, 740,862; 1916, 745,621; 1917, 749,192; 1918, 751,213; 1919, 755,622. The Raleigh Heron Head transfer was introduced in 1908.

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They don’t usually use computers, so much of their knowledge is stored in their heads.

By the time we learn from them, it’s second-generation information.

Sometimes the date sold does not reflect when a bicycle was actually manufactured (for example, Dursley Pedersens were very expensive, badly marketed and often took a long time to sell).

Only certain manufacturers’ frame number sequencing is known. Many manufacturers used ‘bought-in’ bikes at different times, ie made by a different company.

Thus, for example, an apprentice mechanic was handed down an invaluable unwritten guide to repairing vehicles that could not be learned at college nor from books, because, as well as specific information about various models, it helped a youngster understand the way they were designed and built.

Similarly, to learn about vintage bicycles, we ask questions of our elders in the hobby.

The company had been taking steps to make it harder for makers of cheap bicycles to copy Raleigh parts.

The ‘R’ bracket was easy to copy, so they introduced this more complex lamp bracket instead.

It’s still not a service I actually offer – but at least they are less abusive. ’ Also, ‘I have a bicycle that looks like one of yours; if I send you pictures please can you identify it for me? The Veteran Cycle Club (V-CC) has a system of ‘marque enthusiasts’ – volunteers who compile what information they can about particular manufacturers.