|The massive Raleigh complex in the 1950s.|
(from Sheldon Brown's site - Retro Raleighs)
In the short educational film How A Bicycle Is Made from 1946, a father and son visit the giant Raleigh factory in Nottingham and get to see how a bicycle is made from start to finish. The mass-production on display is a real sight to behold, making this an interesting little film that proudly shows off Britain's industrial might from an era long gone, and in a way that may never be duplicated. Some of the manufacturing methods shown may be surprising, even to people already familiar with bicycle construction.
|The film opens with a panning shot over the rooftops of the giant industrial complex in Nottingham. "Here is a factory in the heart of industrial Britain. A planned response to the world's demand for bicycles," says the narrator.|
|This sequence shows how a flat piece of steel is gradually shaped into a bottom bracket shell. The flat steel disc undergoes several pressings, eventually making a seamless shell ready to accept frame tubes and stays.|
|Two men put tubes and lugs into a jig and pin the joints to prepare the frame for brazing in a furnace. Notice the stacks of hundreds of frames behind the men.|
|They don't actually show the brazing operation - but a worker here pulls a hot, glowing frame from the furnace. I'm assuming that rings of brass were put into the joints, then the melted in the furnace, making it almost like an automated process.|
|"These girls are so expert that they can fit a tire and tube in under 50 seconds."|
There is a really nice copy of How a Bicycle is Made on YouTube, courtesy of the British Film Council.