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Women as bike mechanics in the early 1900s

Posted Jul 20 2012 10:51am

An interesting ad for Triumph Bicycles from 1906; the text reads:

The male mechanic in the workshop has proved himself infinitely superior to the female; he is capable of doing better, more exact, more reliable work.

Morally, mixed labor does not raise the standard of either worker, and considerably lowers the standard of the work produced.

Triumph Cycles, are made in a factory where no female labor whatever is employed. Female labor and best work do not go together therefore let your machine be a Triumph. “The Best Bicycle British Workmanship can produce,” and made by skilled male mechanics only.

The Triumph is the only Coventry Cycle Factory not employing female labor.  

It appears Triumph was not too interested in the female market at that time. Of course such an ad would not fly today, but it is an interesting look at history in an age before women even had the right to vote in the UK.

Below is a picture from the same era showing women working in a bicycle factory. Obviously not the Triumph Facility.

The pictures are from a piece in the Guardian Newspaper and part of a promotion for the Coventry Transport Museum exhibition celebrating the history and heroes of all kinds of competitive cycling. The exhibition runs from 22 June to 14 October 2012. My thanks to Tim Mullet for sending me the link.



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