It had to start somewhere...The Early Years... 1845-1881
- For Right Now, I have copied over some entries from my blog, over at:
- All of this will be changing quite frequently, and being added to often, for quite a while.
The dim, distant past of the Rambler line begins with a man named Thomas Buckland Jeffery. Thomas B. was born on February 5, 1845 in Plymouth, Devon, England, in an area known as Stoke Damerel. His father was a postal carrier at the time. I haven't found much information on his early life, but it is known that at age 18, in 1863, he emigrated from England to America. The city of Chicago was where he ended up, and he worked there as an optical technician, a lensmaker. He learned crafting and technical work, and began making models for inventors to submit with patent applications. This was a requirement of patent applications at the time. He hooked up with an acquaintance from England in Chicago, whose name was R. Philip Gormully. During the Great Chicago Fire, his modelmaking shop was destroyed, and he was forced to re-enter the optical trade for a time to generate capital to reopen his modelmaking trade. He married Kate Elizabeth Wray in 1874, and began to produce baby carriages as well. During the 1870's he marketed a railroad velocipede, a small one-man foot powered vehicle for the railway. I have so far been unable to locate a picture of his actual vehicle. There are several inventors of these vehicles, and there are several types, but I suspect that it appeared similar to the bicycle-based version. In 1878, Jeffery went back to England on vacation, and experienced his first bicycle ride, and in 1879 entered the bicycle manufacturing trade. In 1881, he and R. Philip Gormully formed Gormully and Jeffery Manufacturing. They called their product the American bicycle, beginning with an ordinary(big front wheel) called the Ideal. With the advent of the "safety bicycle", essentially the same design as modern bicycles, the new model was called the Rambler.
1863- Thomas B. Jeffery emigrates from England to Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.
1874- Thomas B. Jeffery marries Kate Elizabeth Wray
1878- Thomas B. Jeffery's first bicycle ride.
1879- Jeffery begins production for sale of his first bicycles.
1881- Jeffery and R. Philip Gormully, a boyhood friend from England, form Gormully and Jeffery Manufacturing, to produce bicycles. Their product is called the American, then the American Rambler, then the name is shortened to Rambler.
Also in the 1870's, Jeffery produced baby carriages, worked as an optical technician, and made models for inventors to submit with patent applications. He also produced a railway velocipede during this period.
From the Library-
"A Family in Kenosha"- A magazine article by Beverly Rae Kimes, detailing some of the early Rambler history. Appeared in the 2nd Quarter 1978 issue of
Automobile Quarterly Magazine. Scanned and kindly contributed to my effort by Ken Ames.
From the Timeline Galleries-
I have literally dozens of old bicycle ads to upload to the Open Library Project yet. Some of these can be seen at:
Bicycles and Other Products
(This is an album I have on Photobucket.com.)