Seatpost Surprise

My 1935 (estimated) George Elrick, a Stirling-made bike, had a little surprise hiding beneath it's Brooks B17 Flyer saddle - a steel seat post with a distinctive curve to it where it attaches to the rails. This did away with the need for a separate saddle pin clamp. I hadn't seen one like that before so I searched for a manufacturer's name but there was nothing visible, just a Pat Pending mark.

Unfortunately, the actual patent number was too indistinct to make it out. However, a bit of time researching the online patent database eventually solved the riddle. Here it is:

Abstract of  GB492982  (A)

First page clipping of GB492982 (A)492,982. Saddle pillars and clamps. BROOKS & CO., Ltd., J. B., and BRIDEN, H. S. May 25, 1937, Nos. 14479, 20501, and 20502. [Class 136 (iii)] A combined saddle pillar and saddle-clamping device comprises a pillar member provided at its upper end with a rigidly-attached or integral clamping-head having one or more outer faces provided with teeth, serrations. or projections, which may co-operate with corresponding teeth &c. on clamping plates adapted to engage the frame wires &c. of the saddle. In the form shown in Figs. 1 and 2, the clamping-head comprises two spaced side cheeks 2, which are formed of two separate stampings welded together at their back and front edges 5, and provided with inwardly-flanged edges 3, their lower neck portions 4 forming a socket which is welded or brazed on the closed upper end of the stem 1. The head is off-set from the axis of the stem 1. The side cheeks 2 have outwardly-projecting shallow boss parts 7 of annular form, with radial serrations 8 cut or pressed in them for engagement by serrations on clamping-plates 11, against which the saddle frame wires 12 are clamped by means of washers 14 and nuts 15 on bolts or studs 10, which are fixed to the cheeks 2 by means of a head and a square part engaging a square hole 9 in each cheek. The fixed bolts 10 may be replaced by loose set screws engaging tapped bosses on the cheeks 2 or nuts fixed thereto ; or a single long bolt may be employed, with a distance sleeve between the cheeks. The clamping-head may be spigoted into the stem tube 1, or may be butt-welded flush to the upper end of the tube 1. In a further modification, the clamping-head consists of a U- shaped bracket having a flat closed end welded or brazed on an obliquely-cut end of the stem tube, the bracket arms or branches forming the side cheeks ; or the curved inner end of a U-shaped bracket may embrace and be welded &c. to the upper end portion of the stem tube. In another form, the clamping-head is formed integral with the stem tube, the upper end of which is subjected to expanding, bending, gapping, and shaping operations.

You'll see it's actually a Brooks design dating from 1937, a date at odds with my idea of the bike's age. When I bought the Elrick from its original owner, he told me it was the fifth bike built by George Elrick in 1935 following his move to Stirling from Yorkshire. It's possible that the seat post was fitted a couple of years after the bike was bought. It's less likely that the frame was built in 1937 or '38 as the original owner was quite specific about its age and told me he raced on the bike for years before being called up to the army.

The aim of Brooks was to make a lighter, simpler and cheaper to manufacture seat pillar that could also be made from aluminium alloy. Another gentleman, Henry Silas Bryden, was also named in the patent application. Presumably he was a Brooks employee or director.

Here's what they said in their application, "One of the objects of the present invention is to provide a self-contained saddle and pillar unit or assembly wherein the saddle is adjustably fixed or mounted upon the pillar in an improved and simplifled manner, resulting in a saving in weight as compared with a saddle and pillar in which the saddle is secured by the usual form of U-shaped clip device mounted on the underframe of the, saddle and adapted to be clamped around the pillar.

"Another object is to obtain a firmer and more secure fixing of the saddle to the pillar A further object is to provide a saddle fixing or mounting device which is of simple construction; which admits of being more cheaply manufactured than the usual U-clip device; which lends itself to being manufactured in an aluminium alloy; and which may be so designed as to allow of being made narrower than is possible with present designs."

It must have lived up to expectations as the patent was granted in September the following year.