At the early age of 15, John Marston went to Wolverhampton to get a job as an apprentice under Edward Perry. By age 23 he had started his own business under the name of John Marston Ltd. His business grew at such a rapid pace that by the time Edward Perry died back in 1871, he was able to take over Edward Perry's company and incorporate it as his own.
Soon after this, the company had begun to produce its own line of bicycles and under the suggestion of John's wife, he trademarked the name Sunbeam. Due to John's perfectionism, his bicycles became highly popular throughout the area. Every single bicycle that was to leave the production line was clean and well oiled and was considered to be one of the best bicycles that money could buy at the time.
Around 1903, John Marston began to experiment with the addition of engines to his various bicycle lines. His experimentations proved to be fatal, as one man was actually killed on one of his motorcycles. Although these were downfalls in the eventuality of the Sunbeam Motor Company, John would continue to push forward until he was able to produce his first motorcycle, back in 1912.
By this time, John Marston had already reached the ripe age of 76 years old, and therefore developed his motorcycles to be a gentleman's machine. Regardless of how these motorcycles were known, they were still able to perform well in the Isle of Man TT races throughout the early 1910s.
After the end of World War I, he then decided to sell his company into a consortium in order to better market his motorcycles. Throughout the years, the company had changed hands several times, but one thing still remains, is that the Sunbeam motorcycle is an extremely popular motorcycle, even up until the point of World War II, when Sunbeam was owned by BMW and was captured by the German army to produce motorcycles.
Although the Sunbeam Motorcycle Company was known for producing the Sunbeam motor scooters, they also produced several various lines of motorcycles that they called their heads models. These were produced from 1946 until 1956. After 1956, the Sunbeam Motorcycle Company was then sold to the BSA Company, but they were still able to produce motorcycles well into the 1960s.
Original Authors: Nicholas
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 09/06/2008