Inventions in Transport from Bradford

The Jewel of Bradford

Bradford had a thriving car manufacturing industry in the early 20th century. As well as Jowetts, between 1919 and 1939, John E. Wood had a small workshop creating cycle cars called 'Jewels'.

Innovations and experiments:

The Jewel was powered by a simple engine, but it developed into a more complex car. Wood also designed a new type of steering gear for it, which made steering a lot lighter and easier. When the car was tested on the hills around Bradford it was able to reach a maximum speed of 45 mph.

A competitive market:

Wood continued to develop the Jewel engine so that it was capable of higher speeds. However, the Jewel cost more to produce and while another popular car, the Austin Seven, was on sale for £165, the Jewel cost £245. 


The personal touch:

John Wood made all the Jewel bodywork at his small premises, even the car radiator, which was decorated with the name ‘Jewel’. Customers were also able to choose the type of engine they wanted and all the cars were specially painted and varnished. 


Bodywork - the frame of a car

Capable - able to do to job or task

Decorate - to make something look nice

Industry - manufacture of similar products

Premises - buildings usually used by a business

Varnish - to add a layer on top to protect paintwork

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Map view of Bowland Street, Bradford, where the first Jewel cars were made»

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