A Brief History of the Marque
The Graves Speed King-JAP was produced between 1913 and 1914 by New Imperial and sold by J. G. Graves of Sheffield as their own marque.
This model was the Light Tourist with a different tank transfer. It had a 2.5 hp 293cc JAP sv engine, two-speed gearbox and belt final drive. The rigid frame had Druid forks and footboards, and Bowden brakes were fitted.
The intention had been to sell the machine by mail order and with interest-free credit, but the New Imperial was cheaper and the onset of the First World War brought trade in civilian motorcycles, for the most part, to an end.
There is a suggestion that Graves may have had something to do with the Sheffield Minor of 1915.
Motorcycles are a footnote to the story of J.G. Graves (1866-1945). He spoke Italian, German and French fluently; he established a mail-order company which by 1903 had 3000 employees; an art collector, he built a collection of thousands of paintings, 700 of which he donated to the art gallery he established for the Sheffield community, and spent a further £10,000 setting up a library; he bought a large tract of land on behalf of the city to prevent it from falling into the hands of developers; he was an ardent environmentalist, cyclist and traveller.
Sources: Graces Guide, sheffieldhistory.co.uk
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