PAGE 3. History of Cyclemaster



Did you know that the Cyclemaster was actually a German design?

After the War, some German engineers went to work for HNG in the Hague, Holland. The company imported cars and motorcycles and were thinking about developing a DKW 2-stroke car.

After the prototype was assembled it was realized that the production costs would be too high for what was, after all, supposed to be a low-cost car.

Bernhard Neumann, Rinus Bruynzeel and Nico Groenerdijke, three of the design team, discussed alternative projects. They had some blueprints for a 2-stroke engine that DKW had also developed – but had been abandoned because of the war. This engine had its engine, carburettor and petrol tank built into a wheel. After making a prototype they realized that its costs was also too high; however, with some modification they managed to
design an alternative, with the engine mounted over the front wheel. They demonstrated this to HNG once they’d developed a good working prototype. Their name for it incorporated the first two letters of each of their names, Bernard, Rinus and Nico – hence Berini. This 26cc engine was called an M13, and went into production in November 1949 at the HNG ‘Pluvier Motorenfabriek‘ factory (with many of the parts made in England).


Germans were considered prisoners-of-war, so the blueprints for the original DKW ‘power wheel’ were confiscated by the Interpro Buro, a British, French and American organization that assisted Dutch postwar industry. You can see the words “Interpro Pats. Pend.” stamped on every Cyclemaster cover.

The blueprints were copied and the machine was manufactured at the EMI Factories in Hayes, Middlesex. The German name ‘Radmeister’ translated as ‘Cyclemaster’ and this was the name given to this radical new power wheel. It was marketed by a new company, Cyclemaster Ltd of 26 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, London.

It made its first public appearance at the Utrecht Industries Fair in April 1950. The earliest engines were 25.7cc, being extended to 32cc in 1951. (The 26cc models are distinguished by their black colour, the 32cc models being silver).

The Town Crier of Tiverton in Devon is pictured below. The ‘Motor Cycle’ magazine of March 1951 features him with the new Cyclemaster wheel fitted to his bicycle.


The public here and abroad lost no time in snapping up new cyclemotors, and putting them into service commuting to work and for summer touring.



EMI’s Cyclemaster Contract

EMI gave many of their factories over to war work when War broke out, and their Hayes factory was bombed in 1944, killing and injuring many employees. They’d already had experience of motorized bicycles with their introduction of the Rudge Autocycle in 1939, though the Rudge was killed off because the factory was needed to produce radar equipment. Is this why EMI were awarded the rights after the War to manufacture the Cyclemaster wheel from the German designs?



Doodlebugs in Hayes 1944

This is from the diary of Alan B Chesterton, who lived near the EMI factory as a youngster during the war; his Dad worked at the plant when it was bombed.

From 1940 air raids became part of everyday life in Hayes, Middlesex.

Despite having important manufacturing plants like Fairy Aviation, ICI filling shells, EMI developing radar, we did not have many conventional air raids, we believed this was due to our near neighbors, the Polish airmen at Northolt Airfield. Official child evacuation stopped, much to our relief, three miles away at Southall, Middlesex.

As an eleven year old attending lessons at Grange Park Junior School, Hayes, on the afternoon of 7th July 1944 whilst in the classroom we heard a loud explosion which from experience we knew was a couple of miles away. After which, the air raid warning sounded and we all went into the surface shelter which was a converted cloaktoom with breeze blocks blocking the windows and scaffolding giving additional support to the ceiling. As children we sat on wooden benches below the pegs which carried out gasmasks and below wire frames which in peacetime held our plimsols.

With pilotless flying bombs known as V1s it was common for the warning to sound after the event and the all clear not to be given until the last batch of V1s had cleared the area. We weren’t allowed home until this occured, although after 16:00 parents could collect theirs and neighbor’s children. This happened in my case, and my agitated mother said the doodlebug had hit the EMI formally known as the ‘HMV’ or ‘Gram’, as before the war it manufactured radios. Now, it was war work on radar sets etc. As we left the school we met a neighbor who said “it’s alright, it’s missed the main factory and landed at the back on some huts”, not knowing this was the sales and service department, exactly where my father worked.

My father had heard the Red Alert given from the factory roof but thought he’d finish his cigarette before going to shelter A to take cover. During this period, the doodlebug landed between shelters A and B and the explosion caused the concrete roof to collapse onto its occupants. When at about 18:00, my dust-covered father cycled home unhurt, except for loss of hearing I was sent out to play, but still remember hearing my father telling my mother about the top portion of a girl in a pink jumper; face and legs covered in rubble, and that he estimated that twenty-three people had been killed, and many injured. Their memorila in Cherry Tree Lane Cemetery, Harlington indicates thirty-four killed, and eighteen injured.

A few months later, on a saturday lunchtime our terrier dog started howling in the back garden. I went out to see, and saw a doodlebug with it’s engine still running approaching. I called out to my parents and brothers and we had all dived into the Anderson shelter by the time the engine had cut. It fell on houses two hundred yards away in Hurstfield Cresent and Wrays Way. Many in my class lived in this area; three died immediately, three later, twenty-two were seriously injured, and there were fourty-five minor injuries. Once again, we lost roof tiles, windows, and plaster board ceilings (the original plaster and lathe went much earlier and were replaced with plaster board which could be refastened)

On the 21st October 1944 the first of our two V2s fell about 500yds away at Gledwoof Drive. Luckily, the ground was very soft so the rocket went deep, and less surface damage was experienced. Although as kids collecting shrapnel, it looked terrible, with mud everywhere, we were lucky and the other rocket that fell in the evening of the 7th December in a park at Hayes End, so once again, we escaped a major incident.


History of EMI


The history of Electrical & Musical Industries, reproduced below from EMI’s website, is intertwined with the past 120 years of recorded music.

I wonder how the Board of Directors viewed the revolutionary new Cyclemaster wheel, compared, for example, to their launch of Britain’s first 33rpm microgroove Long Playing record (in June 1950).


1887 Emile Berliner, a German immigrant, files Letters Patent in USA for his ‘Gramophone’ method of recording and reproducing sound.

1889 Emile Berliner’s hand operated Gramophones are exported from Germany to Britain. Alfred Clark joins the Edison laboratories to carry out research work on the phonograph.

1895 The Berliner Gramophone Company is formed in Philadelphia by Will C Jones, the records being made from vulcanized rubber.

1896 Alfred Clark leaves Edison to join Emile Berliner and helps to invent a hand-driven Gramophone fitted with speed-regulating governor.

1897 William Barry Owen, Director of the National Gramophone Company in New York, arrives in Britain to exploit Berliner Gramophone patents. Resigning from the NGC he sets up business in the Hotel Cecil, London.

1898 The Gramophone Company is formed by William Barry Owen and Trevor Williams, initially at the Hotel Cecil, but moving on May 16 to 31 Maiden Lane. Provisional arrangements are made to manufacture Gramophone Records and assemble machines in Germany.

July 23 1898 Fred Gaisberg, a young recording engineer and talent scout, previously working for Emile Berliner, leaves New York for London to join The Gramophone Company as its first recording engineer.

August 2 1898 Fred Gaisberg makes his first recording in London. It is sung by Syria Lamonte, a barmaid at Rules Restaurant in Maiden Lane.

February 11 1899 The Gramophone Company purchases the European and British Empire rights in E R Johnson’s new process for the manufacture and duplication of sound recordings, based on cutting the master recording into the wax blank.

August 25 1899 The Gramophone Company Ltd is formed in London. Trevor Lloyd Williams becomes first Chairman and Barry Owen is appointed to the board.

September 15 1899 Francis Barraud’s painting ‘His Master’s Voice’ is purchased by The Gramophone Company.

The average speed of record pressing is ten per hour from each matrix.

January 1900 The first appearance of the ‘His Master’s Voice’ picture on the Company’s advertising material the Record Supplement for January 1900.

May 1 1900 The Gramophone Company begins recording by the new Johnson Wax process.

1901 The Gramophone & Typewriter Ltd orders its first 10′ diameter recording machine from E R Johnson in the USA.

April 11 1902 Enrico Caruso records for the first time in Milan. He records 10 songs for a fee of £100. The records were all made in the space of two hours in the afternoon.

June 1903 The G&T introduces the 12′ diameter disc to its territories. Louis (later Sir Louis) Sterling joins the G&T in London. The Danish branch is opened as Skandinavisk Gramophone A/S.

December 12 1906 Land, on which it is proposed to build a British factory, is purchased at Hayes, Middlesex.

January 21 1907 The Company is granted the Royal Warrant of Her Majesty Queen Alexandra.

February 9 1907 Edward Lloyd, tenor, cuts the first sod from the field site at Hayes for the factory which is to be built there. Cost of the silver spade used by Mr Lloyd is £6.10/-, plus 15/- for the engraving total cost £7.5/- (£7.25). The spade was acquired by EMI in 1994 in a house auction for £5,000!

May 13 1907 Madame (later Dame) Nellie Melba lays the foundation stone for the Power House at the Hayes factory site.

November 18 1907 The Company drops the ‘Typewriter’ from its name and returns to being ‘The Gramophone Company Limited’.

June 1908 The first record is pressed at the new Hayes factory. Commercial pressing commences in July.

Christabel Pankhurst records a speech on Women’s Suffrage.

February 1909 ‘Nipper’, the Gramophone Dog, makes his first appearance on British ‘His Master’s Voice’ record labels.

June 1910 A Gramophone and records go with Captain Scott on his Antarctic Expedition. The gramophone was brought back to Britain and is now part of the EMI Records Archive.

June 1912 The new recording studio is opened at the Blythe Road, Hayes Head Office. Head Office buys all chickens in the neighbourhood to prevent their cackling being picked up by the recording apparatus.

SummerFactories now in operation in England, Germany, France, Austria, Russia, Spain, India and Poland.

Branches now operating in Paris, Berlin, Brussels, St. Petersburg, Vienna, Budapest, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Alexandria, Calcutta and Bombay.

August 14 1914 Outbreak of war. Drastic economies made at Hayes and the branches. Large numbers of staff are dismissed; those remaining take a 25% cut in salary. London staff are transferred to Hayes and war work commences. Munitions and aircraft parts are manufactured under Government control.

March 22 1917 His Majesty George V and Queen Mary visit the Hayes factory.

1919 Government controls of the Hayes factory is released and reconstitution of peace time trade is commenced.

June 9 1920 Announcement that the capital of The Gramophone Company Ltd is to be doubled from £850,000 to £1,700,000 by the creation of 850,000 ordinary shares @ £1 each. The whole of these shares are taken up, at a £212,500 premium, by the Victor Talking Machine Company, who thus gained control.

September 1920 E R Johnson, President of The Victor Talking Machine Company, joins the board of The Gramophone Company Ltd. While in London he conceived the idea of an automatic gramophone.

July 20 1921 The Gramophone Company’s new premises in Oxford Street are opened by Sir Edward Elgar.

August 24 1924 Francis Barraud, painter of the ‘His Master’s Voice’ pictures, dies.

1925 Electrical recording is introduced, using the Western Electric System.

1929 Leonard George Wood joins The Gramophone Company Ltd at Hayes in the order Department of the English Branch.

April 21 1931 The Gramophone Company Ltd and The Columbia Gramophone Company Ltd merge and register a holding company ‘Electric and Musical Industries Ltd’ Alfred Clark (The Gramophone Company) becomes Chairman, and Louis Sterling (The Columbia Company) becomes Managing Director.

November 12 1931 Sir Edward Elgar opens the new EMI Recording Studios at Abbey Road, St John’s Wood.

December 1931 Alan Blumlein produces his master patent for binaural (stereo) recording and reproduction.

1932 HMV records H M King George V’s first Christmas broadcast to the Empire.

July 8 1935 EMI (Ireland) is formed.

September 3 1939 War is declared. The company’s factories are largely given over to war work.

July 7 1944 A flying bomb hits the Hayes factory. The bomb fell very near the entrance to a surface shelter and the occupants, with others caught in the open, either killed or injured. Thirty seven employees were killed and fifty six injured.

June 1950 The Decca Record Company launches the 33rpm microgroove Long Playing record in Britain.

1952 First release by EMI of 33rpm microgroove Long Playing records.

Microgroove 7′ 45rpm singles (Classical & Pop) are released by EMI

April 1954 EMI launches its Mono Extended Play 7′ 45rpm records.

June 1954 Mr Joseph (later Sir Joseph) Lockwood is appointed to the Board of Electric & Musical Industries Ltd.

Negotiations begin for the purchase of Capitol Records Inc, USA.

Sir Alexander Aiken resigns as Chairman of EMI Ltd and is succeeded by Joseph Lockwood.

1955 Contract is signed for EMI to purchase control of Capitol Records Inc.

1956 JanuaryEMI makes its initial release of Capitol Records in Britain.

1958 SeptemberEMI launches stereo LP’s.

1959 May L G Wood is appointed Managing Director of EMI Records Ltd.

September 1959 EMI launches stereo extended play 7′ 45rpm records.

1960 January Joseph Lockwood, Chairman of the company, is knighted in the New Year’s Honours list.

February 19 1960 The last 78rpm record on EMI labels is issued in Britain ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘Royal Event’ by Russ Conway.

June 20 1960 EMI Records are now operating from EMI House, 20 Manchester Square, W1.

1961 Capitol records Inc enters the Japanese market by acquiring a joint interest in Toshiba Musical Industries Tokyo, with Tokyo Shibaura Electric Company.

April 27 1961 The HMV store in Oxford Street now devotes its sales to records and accessories only.

June 1961 Colour printed inner bags for LP’s are introduced.

February 2 1962 First release of American Liberty Records material in Britain.

June 4 1962 The Beatles sign their first contract with Parlophone.

June 15 1962 EMI launches the Stateside label in Britain for repertoire licensed from American labels.

October 1962 The Beatles’ first single ‘Love Me Do’ is released by Parlophone.

1966 EMI releases its first pre-recorded cassettes.

January 1 1971 Electrical & Musical Industries changes its name to EMI Records Ltd. ‘It is felt that such a change is appropriate for two reasons: first because our present name no longer reflects our wide span of activities and interests; and secondly, the initials EMI have become our primary means identification throughout the world’.

April 1972 EMI releases it first ‘Q4’ quadraphonic LP disc.

November 28 1974 Sir Joseph Lockwood retires as Chairman of EMI Ltd, but remains on the board. He is succeeded by Mr John E Read, Deputy Chairman and Chief executive of the Company.

October 1976 EMI Records sign an unknown group ‘offering some promise’ – The Sex Pistols.

October 11 1977 EMI America Records Inc is incorporated in Hollywood, California.

1978 L G Wood receives the CBE in the New Year’s Honours list.

July 1 1978 Bhaskar Menon becomes Chief Executive of EMI Music Europe and International in London and Capitol Industries in America.

EMI Records honoured by Queen’s Award for Export Achievement.

November 6 1979 EMI Ltd Board recommends THORN’s revised offer of £169 Million to its shareholders. A new company THORN EMI is to be formed. THORN’s Chairman Sir Richard Cave will be Chairman of the new company. Sir John Read, Chairman of EMI Ltd will become deputy Chairman and Lord Delfont and Bhaskar Menon will join the new board. Lord Delfont will become Chairman of a separate subsidiary embracing EMI’s activities in music, leisure and entertainment.

February 25 1980 Sir Joseph Lockwood resigns from the Board of EMI Ltd, having been a director for 26 Years (20 of these as Chairman).

September 1980 L G Wood resigns from the Board of EMI Ltd, having been connected with the company for 51 years.

April 1 1983 Peter Jamison is appointed Managing Director of record Operations, UK & Ireland.

April 1983 EMI Music announces its support of the Compact Disc. First releases are planned for mid-1983.

April 12 1985 Colin Southgate is appointed Managing Director of THORN EMI.

July 1985 EMI Music announces a major investment in the mastering and manufacture of Compact Discs, utilising the clean air facilities originally set up for videodisc. Production is to begin in early 1986.

May 15 1986 EMI’s first compact disc factory opens in Swindon.

1989 EMI Music purchases a 50% interest in Chrysalis Records.

June 1992 EMI Music acquires Richard Branson’s Virgin Records.

1994 EMI Records UK honoured by The Queen’s Award for Export Achievement for the second time.

1997 EMI celebrates its centenary.




The British engineer Daniel Rudge (1840–June 26, 1880) built good quality bicycles and velocipedes. Rudge invented the adjustable ball bearing bicycle hub (British Patent No 526) in 1878.
The French racing cyclist Charles Terront, renowned for winning the first Paris-Brest-Paris event in 1891, used Rudge’s axles with much success, bringing world attention to Rudge. Before John Dunlop invented the pneumatic tire, Rudge had dealt with the rough ride by producing a four-bladed, spring-suspended fork in 1887.

After Rudge’s death, his company was merged with The Tangent & Coventry Tricycle Company to form D. Rudge & Co. which in 1894 became Rudge Whitworth Cycles. By 1911, the Rudge Whitworth Cycle Company was also manufacturing motorcycles.
After the company fell on hard times in the Great Depression, the music company EMI bought the Rudge name. EMI produced bicycles under the Rudge name from 1935 until 1943 when they sold the name to Raleigh.

In 1938 EMI centralized production in Hayes: Rudge’s Coventry factory closed and re-opened next to EMI. 1939 saw the prestigious Rudge name associated for the first time with a motorized bicycle – the 98cc Rudge Autocycle. It was short-lived though: the Rudge factory was taken over by EMI for the manufacture of radar equipment during the War, and the remaining autocycles were passed on to the Norman company.



paraphrasing History of Cyclemaster: Andrew Pattle/the Moped Archive

2. ‘Doodlebugs in Hayes 1944’
© Alan B Chesterton:

3. History of EMI from their website



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