Royal Enfield and Townsend and Co
Townsend and Co.
In 1851 George Townsend (1794-1879 ) established a mill in Hunt End, Redditch, named "Givry Works". Among other things he made needles for sewing machines. At the 1862 Exhibition George Townsend and Co, Girvey Works, Hunt End, Redditch showed his needles.
After George Townsend Senior died, his son George Townsend Junior (born 1854) and his half brother bought into Givry Works and made a crude bicycle. It had a backbone of iron, with wooden wheels, iron tyres and pedals of triangular pieces of wood! Though the bike was a source of some amusement, George and his team felt they could easily improve on it.
The earliest modern safety bicycle with two wheels of equal size had appeared in about 1880. All manufacturers were trying their hand at this new venture. So was George Townsend Jr. In 1885 he decided to enter the cycle trade, initially making components for bicycles.
By luck, he chanced upon an invention in his neighborhood a saddle that only used one length of wire in the two springs and in the framework. This was adopted, patented and marketed as the 'Townsend Cyclists Saddle & Spring'. He had entered the bicycle parts trade!
From bicycle parts, Townsend slowly moved on to producing bicycles himself. His first specialities were tricycles for juveniles. He was also supplying a wide range of parts to other manufacturers - Givry Works was growing rapidly. Over the next three years he developed his own range of over two-dozen machines like the 'Mascotte' series starting in 1884.
The premises were still at Givry Works, Hunt End, Redditch. The firm produced the 'New Ecossais' Diamond Safety No.1 in June 1890. In November 1890 the firm became a limited company. In March 1891 George Townsend and Co exhibited his bicycles at the Royal Aquarium Exhibition London. Each machine, known locally as the 'Townsend cycle' was reputed for its sturdy frame, a character that all Enfield bikes would follow.
During 1891 the finance of the business failed and the Townsend family lost control. George Townsend went on to run the Redditch Cycle Co. Ltd.
The new head was Albert Eadie, late of Perry & Co, with his works manager, Robert Walker Smith, formerly assistant manager of D. Rudge & Co They improved the business, stopped making sewing machine needles, and changed its name in 1892 to the Eadie Manufacturing Co.