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Homepage. This page: A 1910's era Royal Ruby motorcycle posed within a photographer's studio.

Royal Ruby.

A number of original sepia photographs can be found across this site, of either a car or motorcycle posed in front of a painted scene, in a photographer's studio. Visitors to the town in which the studio was located could pose with the vehicle, and have their photo taken as a memento of their visit. Quite often, these studios were established in seaside towns, which is likely to be the case here as the vintage motorcycle is parked on a "beach", with an illustration of cliffs and the sea shore in the background. A magnifying glass revealed the "Royal Ruby" script applied to the bike's slender petrol tank. Unfortunately the registration details on the front-mounted registration plate, cannot be clearly read.
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
A Royal Ruby motorcycle
These machines were produced by the Ruby Cycle Company Limited, of Manchester. The company was founded in 1909, and continued to produce bikes under the Royal Ruby name until 1932. Various changes of ownership occurred during this time though, before the company finally folded for good. Like many of the early motorcycle manufacturers, Ruby began life producing and selling their own range of bicycles, before aiming to claim a slice of the growing motorcycle market for themselves.
Hopefully someone can identify the model shown above? 250cc two- and four-stroke machines were built, the range topped by the 976cc V-twin version. After WW1 the company folded, only to be resurrected under new ownership in a new factory located in nearby Altrincham. Things didn't quite go to plan, sales-wise, and in 1922 the factory doors closed once more. In 1927, the Royal Ruby name rose from the ashes once more, this time in Bolton, where machines with either JAP or Villiers engines were put on sale. Production continued for a while longer, official production being wound down in 1931 or thereabouts, with a few remaining bikes assembled from spare parts for another year or two afterwards.
A number of Royal Ruby motorcycles have survived into preservation, although whether any examples of the company's cycle car, or three-wheeled car, survive, I'm not sure. Few of either were made, so it seems unlikely that any survive some 100 years or so later, although at least one replica of the three-wheeler is extant.
Return to Page 20 in the motoring photographs archive, or visit the main index here.

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