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John Marston Ltd
of Sunbeamland, Wolverhampton
John Marston was apprenticed to the Jeddo Works of Wolverhampton as a japanner
1857 At the age of 23, he bought two existing tinplate manufacturers and
set up on his own, John Marston Co. Ltd. Marston was an avid cyclist, and
in 1877 set up the
Sunbeamland Cycle Factory, producing bikes known
Between 1899 and 1901 the company also produced a number of experimental
cars, but none of these were offered to the market.
1898 Bought an engineering company that became Villiers.
In 1859, John Marston bought two existing tinplate manufacturers and set
up on his own as John Marston Ltd, making any and every sort of domestic
1871 He did so well that when Edward Perry died in 1871, Marston took over
his company and incorporated it in his own.
1877 His company began making bicycles in 1877, and on the suggestion of
his wife Ellen, Marston adopted the trademark brand Sunbeam
and the Paul Street works were called Sunbeamland. John Marston was a perfectionist,
and this was reflected in the high build quality of the Sunbeam bicycle,
which had an enclosure around the chain in which an oil bath kept the chain
lubricated and clean. They were made until 1936, and to the end, remained
the best bicycles that money could buy.
1890 Introduced the Little Oil Bath gear case.
1895 Incorporated as a Limited Company.
Diplay advert in The Times for Sunbeam Cycles.
1899 Autumn. Made a 5 h.p. single-cylinder dogcart.
1901 The first production car named as a Sunbeam was introduced
after a partnership with Maxwell Maberly-Smith. The Sunbeam-Mabley
design was an odd one, with seats on either side of a belt-drive powered
by a single-cylinder engine of less than 3hp. The design was a limited
success, with 420 sold at £130 when production ended in 1904. At
that point the company started production of a Thomas Pullinger designed
car based on the Berliet mechanicals. They introduced a new model, based
on a Peugeot motor they bought
for study, in 1906 and sold about ten a week.