Brooks Timeline

Take a journey through the history of our company. Enjoy many of the illustrious innovations Brooks has created for the cyclist.



John Boultbee Brooks is born in Hinckley, Leicestershire on 22 April.


Mr. Brooks arrives in Birmingham with £20 in his pocket and establishes J.B. Brooks & Co., a company manufacturing leather harness and tackle for horses.


The world’s first cycling race is held in Paris. It was won by Englishman James Moore, atop a “penny-farthing” bicycle


The death of Mr. Brooks’ horse prompts him to try a new-fangled bicycle. He finds the saddle so excruciating that he vows to make a more comfortable one, and the first Brooks Saddle prototype is born.


JB Brooks files his first saddle patent.


The 1888 J.B. Brooks & Co. Price List is the oldest catalogue in our archives. To our knowledge it is the first produced by the company.


The first versions of the Brooks B17, “…a neat, light Saddle, of best quality (may also be used for road racing)” is launched. It remains our best-selling saddle. Also of note, “Real Crocodile Saddles”, priced at just over half the cost of cowhide, were offered this year.


The Brooks Imperial cutting, “a sure preventative to all perineal pressure” is introduced.


Dr John Boyd Dunlop of Dublin, Ireland develops the pneumatic tyre. Cycling comfort, and therefore popularity, immediately goes on the upswing.


The “Safety Bicycle” design takes over in popularity from the penny-farthing, making cycling much less dangerous, more convenient, but considerably less theatrical for all.


Our first advertisement is published in the debut issue of Cycling Magazine.


A number of patents are filed, including the Cyclist’s Holdall patent, Camera Carrier and Tripod Clips, as well as the Challenge Tool Bag , which remains in our range of cycle bags today.


JB Brooks & Co registers as a Pubic Limited Company


The first modern Olympics are held in Athens. Six cycling events are included, and have been contested at every Summer Olympics since.


English inventor E.H. Hodgkinson patents the 3-speed Gradient Gear, pre-cursor to the modern derailleur.


The somewhat complex-looking Brooks “patent spanner” makes it's first appearance. This product has been since discontinued.


French sports paper L’Auto organises a bicycle race and le Tour de France is born. Brooks saddles feature prominently on competitors’ bicycles.


Anticipating the needs of World War I, Brooks patents the Gun Clip for bicycles.


The same year as the gun clip, a somewhat less useful patent is also filed for mechanical spring loaded braces.


With the Brooks Manufacturing Company, the company expands into motorcycling.


Brooks offers a unique Golf Bag with clips for mounting to the bicycle, preceding the electric golf cart.


Brooks offers a unique Golf Bag with clips for mounting to the bicycle, preceding the electric golf cart.


Brooks establishes Antler, a division for leather luggage and wardrobe trunks designed for ocean and car travel. Antler Luggage still exists today as a separate company.


The Brooks Waterproof Cover for Saddles. A must invention for the British climate.


Company founder John Boultbee Brooks passes away, his eldest son Boultbee Brooks takes over as chairman.


At the height of the Golden Age of British Motoring, the Patent Quick Lift “One-Step” Car Jack and Patent Folding Stool are introduced.


The B66CH (which will eventually develop into the B67) is launched. It will become one of our most popular saddle models.


A range of four Ponchos and one Sou’Wester is launched, made from lightweight waterproof oilskin. As Mr. Brooks said, “A great deal of the enjoyment of cycling depends on upon the assurance that one is equipped for any weather.”


Brooks introduces a range of Cycling Shoes for both men and women.


Brooks establishes Evertaut, a division to make modernist furniture from tubular steel. Evertaut continues today as a contract furniture company.


Proofide joins the Brooks product range.


The Union Cycliste Internationale bans recumbent bicycles from all official races.


Currently the only heir to JB Brooks’ original three spring saddle design, the B73 is launched.


Satisfying a need for a lighter, sportier saddle, Brooks launches the now-iconic Swallow model.


Derailleurs are approved for use in the Tour de France.


Blackwell Court, home of the Brooks family, is commandeered by the Josiah Mason Orphanage for the duration of WW2. Saddle production decreases significantly and the range is reduced to just a few basic saddles, also those substituting rubber (from old car tyres) for leather. Criterion Works is bombed and heavily damaged.


The option of chromium plated rails is offered for the first time. In the post-war era, Brooks briefly markets cheaper-quality saddles under the Lycett, Wrights and Leatheries brands.


Queen Elizabeth buys a seven-piece set of Brooks luggage in a tasteful tartan pattern.


With the deather of Boultbee Brooks, the eldest son of J.B. Brooks, the company passes to the third generation, to be later sold by the family.


A new advancement in safety for cycling, the Lycette Lifeguard helmet, “protection which only POLYSTYRENE offers!”

Late 1950's

The Brooks family sells Brooks to Raleigh Bicycles. The Antler and Evertaut divisions are also sold.


After a company shuffle at Raleigh, Brooks becomes a division of Sturmey Archer, makers of the famous Sturmey Archer geared hubs. Raleigh at the time also controlled BSA, Carlton Cycles and Reynolds (of 531 tubing fame).


British Engineer and eccentric Alex Moulton launches the small-wheel Moulton bicycle design.


A fire nearly destroys the Downing street factory, where Brooks was relocated a few years earlier.


Californian kids begin using bicycles to imitate their motorcross heroes. BMX is born.


Brooks produces a series of plastic saddles, many of which are still in use.


Carbon fibre is first used to make a bicycle frame.


Brooks releases the sleek Colt saddle, the first new saddle design in many years, with era-appropriate packaging.


The first mountain bike appears. Borrowing from the European tradition of Cyclocross, mountain biking quickly begins to grow in popularity.


Brooks moves a few factories down the road on Downing Street. Our factory still doesn't have a street number in it's address.


Brooks is bought by Italian saddle manufacturer Selle Royal, who own the company to the present day.


Brooks re-introduces the Swallow, a classic design from 1937


Brooks debuts the Barbican Shoulder Bag.


Brooks collaborates with London bespoke tailor Timothy Everest to design The John Boultbee Criterion Cycling Jacket.


Brooks introduces the Cambium, a new concept rubber saddle.


Brooks releases the first Cambium version with a carbon rail, the C13