Brand Directory
Country:EnglandPrimary Focus:Saddles
Years of Operation:1866 - Current
General Information
 One of the oldest cycling companies still in business, Brooks of England is most well known for the cycling component John Boultbee Brooks invented in 1865: the leather cycling saddle.  The Brooks company has been owned by a number of different parent companies over the years as detailed in the History section.

1865 - A young man of 19 years old called John Boultbee Brooks bought himself a new velocipede. He would have cut quite a dashing figure back in the day, but that was not all he cut; the wooden saddle was excruciatingly uncomfortable. His father made leather saddles for horses - and indeed he and his contemporaries, normally came to work on a horse. So the young Brooks set about designing and developing a comfortable saddle from leather in his father's works. The rest, as they say, is history.

1866 - John Boultbee Brooks (1846-1921) established a works in Great Charles Street, Birmingham for the manufacture of leather strapping for horse harnesses and general leather goods.

1870 - Noting that more and more people were indulging in the new pastime of cycling, John Boultbee Brooks went over to the manufacture of bicycle saddles.

1880 - The first safety bicycle came on the scene and with it the need for more comfortable saddles. No longer were riders willing to accept that the only option open to them was to ride a piece of formed wood.

1882 - Brooks filed his first patent for a sprung bicycle saddle, the first of its kind. After which he went on to file a number of patents for bicycle saddles, motor cycle saddles and other leather goods. These included galoshes, snap-on leggings, handlebar muffs, folding footrests, toe-straps, gents and ladies cycling shoes, oil-skin clothing and, of course, bags.  A little known fact however is that Brooks also manufactured furniture – chairs, tables, desks, cabinets and mirrors for home, hotel or business use and stools, lockers, cupboards, bins, shelves and tables for commercial and industrial usage.  Many of these items are chronicled in a collection of yesteryear catalogues which can be viewed at the Brooks England website.

1900 - In the early 1900's Brooks Ltd., was offering an astonishingly broad range of bicycle saddles and other accessories such as saddle bags, tool bags, saddle back rests, inner tube cases, motorcycle belt cases, pannier bags, luggage bags, hat cases and even bicycle mounted cigar trays.

1920s - Brooks took over the Lycett Saddle Company and Brooks saddles became the first choice of cycling champions. During this period each and every rider in the Tours utilized a Brooks Saddle and Brooks current marketing campaign revolves around photographs of famous yesteryear cyclists undertaking the stages of the Tour de France with Brooks Saddles.

1926 - The B66, the big Brooks best-seller was introduced. This saddles still makes up over a third of the company’s total saddle sales.

1930s - Brooks took over the Leatheries Cycle Saddle concern and even purchased a motorcycle company named, coincidentally, the Brookes Company.

1935 - A history of industry in Birmingham, the centre of bicycle saddle manufacturing in Britain, mentions that in 1935 of the 2,733,000 cycle saddles manufactured in Britain, no fewer that 60 per cent were manufactured by J.B. Brooks & Company.

1939 - War broke out and Brooks' skills and plant were rapidly harnessed to the help the war effort.

1945 - The war over, Brooks entered a period of expansion unlike anything ever it had experienced before.

1955 - A boom time for Brooks, with a workforce of 1,500 they were selling some 55,000 leather saddles and 25,000 mattress saddles a week.

1958 - The saddle division of Brooks Industries Limited, as it was now called was taken over by the Raleigh Cycle Company.

1960 - Raleigh was bought by British Tube Investments Group, which then transferred Brooks and Sturmey-Archer first to its automotive and then to its bicycle division.

1962 - Brooks moved to the Downing Street Works, Smethwick, Birmingham, to be combined with the Wright Saddle Company, then part of T.I., to form the Raleigh Saddle Division. The current Brooks facility is found 5 kilometres north- west of the original site in the town of Smethwick.

1969 - In July of this year the Brooks facility was ravaged by fire and gutted. Nothing daunted the Brooks staff and they salvaged what was left of the plant and stock and continued production.

1987 – Brooks, as part of the T.I. Bicycle Division was taken over by the American Derby International Group.

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Vintage Tools - Recent Added / Updated
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Additional Resources
Resource LinkCategoryDetails 
Brooks ArchivesBrand Specific WebsitesTons of information about Brooks Saddles
The Evolution of Brooks Saddle BadgesBrand Specific WebsitesDescribing the changes to the Brooks badge over the course of history
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