Bocquillon Les Vieilles Glories Du Cycle Postal Cards
By Mark Holt, 2020
This amazing set of postcards was issued by Dunlop and printed by Bocquillon in France around 1900 according to Jacques Lannoy. The actual date was likely after 1905 given the ‘split’ postcard backs. The set is one of the largest early issues featuring the top racers of the period. The fronts are off-white background black and white studio photos of the riders on bikes.
The series title is at the top in red text with a line touting Dunlop tires underneath and the Bocquillon credit running vertically up the left side. The rider’s name is in red at the bottom. The backs are standard-era postcard backs. This series shows more of the early track racers than any other I’ve found despite being issued after 1905 and also features more of the top racers, men and women, around the world than most of the early issues. This is one of the few sets with cards of Zimmermann, Champion, Fischer, and Desgrange included. Other early champions include Lesna, Butler, a young Jacquelin, the Linton brothers, and Charles Terront who won the first Paris-Brest-Paris. Also found in the set is Masson, the first Olympic cycling champion in 1896. Early women stars such as Debatz (first-hour record holder) and Helene Dutrieux are also found in the set.
Excerpt from: Velo Images; The History of Bike Racing in Collectible Cards by Mark Holt, 2020
Dunlop Bicycle Tires
The first bicycle “tires” were iron bands on the wooden wheels of velocipedes. These were followed by solid rubber tires on penny-farthings. The first patent for “rubberized wheels” was granted to Clément Ader in 1868. In an attempt to soften the ride, rubber tires with a hollow core were also tried.
The first practical pneumatic tire was made by John Boyd Dunlop in 1887 for his son’s bicycle, in an effort to prevent the headaches his son had while riding on rough roads. (Dunlop’s patent was later declared invalid because of prior art by fellow Scot Robert William Thomson.) Dunlop is credited with “realizing rubber could withstand the wear and tear of being a tire while retaining its resilience”. This led to the founding of Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co. Ltd in 1889. By 1890, it began adding a tough canvas layer to the rubber to reduce punctures. Racers quickly adopted the pneumatic tire for the increase in speed and ride quality it enabled.
All of the postal cards on our site are original, with no reproductions.
As many of the cards are quite old and one-of-a-kind, please look carefully a the photos to determine their condition.