Things made of leather and canvas and cotton are better than things made of nylon and plastic. Your possessions are supposed to get better with age. The more beat up they become, the more admired and coveted they should be.
Brooks England Ltd. is an outfitter of things that get better with age. The company makes bicycle accoutrements for serious gentlemen riders.
The Brooks Legend. “In 1866 J.B. Brooks moved from the small town of Hinckley to Birmingham with £ 20 in his pocket. He established himself as a dealer in General Leather Goods under the name of J.B. Brooks & Co.The firm was only making steady progress until something happened in 1878. Mr. Brooks had been in the habit of riding a horse to and from his business, but this horse died. Mr. Brooks felt he could not afford to buy another horse, so a friend lent him a bicycle to make the journey. This introduced J.B. Brooks to cycling, but he found it so uncomfortable that he vowed he would make something more comfortable for the rider to sit on. On 28th October 1882, John Boultbee Brooks filed his first patent on “Saddles for Bicycles and Tricycles”. The rest, as they say, is history. J.B. Brooks”
Below: An archival page from an old Brooks catalog.
Below: An original patent and its contemporary counterpart.
Below: Brooks “saddle” components being manufactured.
There are also some very enjoyable “unsolicited user comments” on the company’s website.
Dear Sirs, I am writing to let you know how very pleased I am with a B66 saddle that I bought yesterday. I had a Raleigh Superbe cycle in 1952 fitted with an identical saddle and it is fascinating to find that the quality of the new one is exactly as I remember the earlier one. Even the box and the enclosed leaflets are works of art. I had no idea that you still made such a range of traditional cycle accessories – my next purchase is likely to be a Millbrook Holdall. Also, you are to be congratulated on your excellent website where I have just spent a very enjoyable half-hour. With Thanks, Yours faithfully, Tony
All photos via Brooks England Ltd (A. Bon, M. Bozzetto, P. Maulini, F. Herholdt).