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The Rambler Bicycle

Thomas B. Jeffery was born in Stoke, Devonshire, England.  At the age of eighteen he emmigrated to the United States, and moved to Chicago.  Later he worked making models of inventions for submission to the U.S. Patent Office by inventors.  With partner R. Phillip Gormully he formed a bicycle company and became the 2nd largest bicycle manufacturing company in the U.S.  One of his accomplisments was developing a clincher rim and tire so that pneumatic tires could be used more effectively on bicycles.


The Gormully and Jeffery bicycles included a model called the Rambler. In 1900 Jeffery and Gormully sold their interest in their bicycle company and bought a factory in Kenosha Wisconsin, and began making automobiles. They kept the trademark “Rambler” from their bikes, and their cars were called Ramblers. This is Jeffery’s first automobile. Some of his early designs had a front mounted engine, and a steering wheel, but his first production models conservatively followed the Duryea pattern, and had a tiller and a rear engine.

The Ramblers costs in the $750 to $850 range, and has an 8-hp, 1.6L, 1-cyl. engine mounted
beneath the seat. In the first year of sales the Rambler became the second largest selling car, with 1500 automobiles sold, second only to Oldsmobile.


7 comments to The Rambler Bicycle

  • Few people realize the influence that Rambler and Thomas B. Jeffery had on the bicycle and automotive industries in the United States.

    According to an article in the 2nd Quarter 1978 Automobile Quarterly by Beverly Rae Kimes, Jeffery also held patents involving a railway velocipede, the sewing machine, and the washing machine.

    Also, Gormully and Jeffery Manufacturing, or G & J, as they were known, successfully challenged the legitimacy of the Lallement Patent in 1886, resulting in the striking down of the patent in 1891.

    In 1903, Thomas B. Jeffery & Co. issued a statement declaring their intention not to pay royalties on the Selden Patent, held at the time by Col. Pope and the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers. The A.L.A.M. chose for some reason not to prosecute Jeffery, but instead sued the Ford Motor Company. During the course of the trial, Thomas B. Jeffery contributed a great deal of capital to Ford’s defense, resulting in the successful resolution of the case in favor of Ford.

    I have posted the magazine article mentioned above, and a small archive of old Rambler ads and brochures, which may be seen at my Rambler heritage web site,

    and my blog, the Route 66 Rambler Report, seen at:

    Your journal is very fascinating, and I am quite impressed with the work you have done here. Keep up the good work!

  • I have previously posted a comment on this article, and I wanted to update the link on my blog, Route 66 Rambler Report. It is now at:

    Thank you.

  • I have previously posted a comment on this article, and I wanted to update the link on my blog, Route 66 Rambler Report. It is now at:

    Thank you.

  • dan

    June 21, 2011


    I owned a rambler bicycle and I have it in my possession.
    are u looking to buy this original bicycle body by rambler manufacturing co. massachusets, USA?

    Contact my E mail thanks.

  • Yussef

    My Friend Larry Owns A Gormully Jeffrey Rambeler. The Rims Are Made Of Wood And The Tires Are The Original Ones Too.

  • I am currently writing a book for North Branch, MN’s Car Tech, Inc. titled: “THE HISTORY OF AMC MOTORSPORTS,” and I would very much like to obtain photographic copies and/or Hi Resolution scans of the accompany photographs used in this article depicting both the Rambler bicycle and Thomas B. Jeffery poised on the original Rambler automobile. Please contact m at the above e-mail address, or you can telephone me t (818) 554-3866 Pacific Standard Time.
    Bob McClurg

  • Sorry, I don’t have high resolution images of these photos. Best wishes. Bob

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