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Birmingham Small Arms and the Lanchester

Lanchester Car Sculpture (Source: Wikipedia (Lanchester))

The Murugappa group is a South Indian conglomerate with its fingers in many pies. One such pie happens to be Tube Investments of India, which amongst its many units includes that of TI Cycles, a leading manufacturer of bicycles in India and in particular, its flagship brand, BSA. The BSA acronym expands rather delightfully to Birmingham Small Arms.

Formed in 1861, the Birmingham Small Arms company was established in order to machine-manufacture guns for the British Empire after the Crimean War. It was not until 1869 that the company ventured into bicycles and later into motorcycles and motorcars. While bicycle manufacturing went out of and then came back into vogue over the decades since, the company steadily continued to manufacture components for the entire industry. However, demand sharply declined post World War II which led to the bicycle division of BSA being sold off to a competitor in Raleigh Industries in 1957. A few years later, Raleigh was acquired by Tube Investments (which had already acquired a number of other companies including Hercules, another popular brand within the TI Cycles stable).

TI Cycles of India was formed in 1949 as a collaboration between Tube Investments in the UK and the Murugappa Group. It initially manufactured cycles under the Hercules moniker and later, when BSA Cycles had been acquired in England, under the name of BSA.

The BSA group which for a period of time also manufactured automobiles, purchased the Daimler Motor Company in 1910. Later on, it also bought the Lanchester Motor Company which was merged with Daimler. In 1960, Jaguar absorbed Daimler. With the Tatas buying Jaguar from Ford, they effectively also own the (now dormant) Daimler and Lanchester brands.