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Burlite brakes

Posted: Friday 12th June 2020

Author: Peter Underwood

Burlite brakes were manufactured in Birmingham, Burlite Accessories Ltd., 25 Linden Road, Bournville, Birmingham 25.

We know they were available from 1945 onwards for a few years until the ubiquitous GBs just about took over the market for UK made brakes.

On the right are the hooded alloy levers with bands right around the bars rather than the more common clips.  This pair on Patricia’s Bates BAR fit 7/8″ bars only so no good for 15/16″.

They were advertised in Aids to Happy Cycling in 1949. These levers would be matched to the stirrups (see image bottom right) which were obviously intended to compete with the ‘standard’ GB Hiduminiums.

The other two centre-pull stirrups shown below have the look of pre-war brakes which carried on in production in post-war years but I have yet to substantiate this. At the moment the only dating we have on them is that of the centre image which is stamped “PAT PNG 6035/45” (Patent pending No.6035 of 1945). This brake was fitted to a pre-war, 1938, R O Harrison. It has a very crude look, almost like a home-made or crude prototype being pressed from alloy sheet.

The centre-pull on the left looks like a more sophisticated version of it. If you can help with the dating of these two stirrups it would be appreciated. They are neither listed in Brown Bros Catalogue for 1939 nor 1952

Below is a report of a Cycling test printed in May 1947. The drawing of the lever clamp is not very accurate as the securing band was more substantial than that shown (see image of lever above).

There was some text preceeding ‘our test, as printed below:
Before placing their latest produce on the market, the manufacturers of the Burlite hiduminium brake submitted it to a number of severe tests all of which were surmounted satisfactorily.  One of the brakes was then sent to Cycling for…….

It seems as if just one brake was sent for testing on a machine with fixed-wheel, indicating that this very much the norm in 1947

This suggests that the side-pull Burlite would have been on the market at least by the first part of 1947 and we are assuming that it was to supercede the centre-pull version

Thanks for reading

Posted: Friday 12th June 2020

Author: Peter Underwood

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