Cycling Club Badges – Part 4 – another favourite and the F.J.Osmond connection
Osmond Cycling Club
This is perhaps the favourite club badge of my collection. Being that of the Vice-President of the club makes it all the more special. Made by Vaughton and Sons and hallmarked 1896, it is imposingly large at 90mm tall.
The name Osmond is a famous one in the history of cycling. F.J.Osmond was one of the most successful amateur racing cyclists of the Victorian era. He began racing at the age of nineteen, and just a year later started to capture records, riding an Ordinary and tricycle. In 1889 he made the successful transition to riding a safety bicycle, and in 1890 he won the 1, 5, 25 and 50 mile championships, also setting a new mile record at 2 mins 28 4-5 secs, reducing this to 2 mins 16 secs a couple of years later.
Is there a connection with this badge? Whilst he was still racing, Osmond was working for The Whitworth Cycle Company. In 1894 he left them and formed his own company to manufacture bicycles and tricycles. The headquarters of that company was in The Tower, Bagot Street, Birmingham, and it is the tower that is seen in this badge, confirmed by a look at the 1900 catalogue for the company (below). In fact the Osmond Cycle Co. was dissolved in 1897 and taken over by investors, who changed the name to Osmonds Ltd., although F.J. stayed on as Managing Director for a few years. He died in 1919, aged 52.
Clearly a club was formed by the company for employees and/or riders of their machines, something which existed for other makes such as Humber and Centaur. The date of this badge, 1896, is significant as the peak year of the 1890’s cycling boom, and it is not surprising that the company failed in 1897, as bicycle manufacturers over-extended themselves whilst the cycling craze went into decline.
Veteran-Cycle Club online library
Ray Miller: An Encyclopaedia of Cycle Manufacturers