The men and women who built them, by and large, also rode them, as their primary means of transportation.
Modern steel rims, cranks, etc are of low quality, because they are aimed at the cheapest possible price point.
From the mid 19th century, well into the 20th, the word "steel" was magic in Britain.
They continued to be built in Nottingham until the mid-1970's, when the glamour of the 10-speed fad pushed them out of favor with the rising baby boom generation.
When a modern company sets out to build a bicycle, what they really build is the frame (if that.) They buy sets of tubing from a tubing company, cut and weld them together into a frame, paint it and install parts which they buy different specialized parts companies.
usually shared similar technology, though these models tended to have mattress saddles, Endrick rims, no chainguard braze-ons, fender stays bolted (not welded) to the fenders, and anchor-bolt type brake cables. The handlebar, cranks, brake levers, fork crown and cable hardware were painted black, not chrome plated (chromium was a strategic material, not available for civilian use.) Stem and brake calipers were chromed. The lamp bracket attaches to the handlebar binder bolt, rather than to the headset. Seat tube, vertical: RALEIGH The All-Steel Bicycle. Frame features "Pletscher"-type plate bridges, but otherwise is a dead ringer for Nottingham production, including 2030 label. Older Raleigh-made brakes used special cables with moulded ends on both ends of the cables, as shown. They were supplied in different configurations for front, gent's rear and lady's rear applications. To replace the cable assembly, you would unbolt the adjusting barrel from the caliper.
Top tube: Made in England (italic script) Down Tube: no markings. These cables can often be revived by dripping oil into them and working them back and forth. ) to reduce weight, but the braze-on was continued until (?
Raleigh, in its glory years (up into the 1960's) was the absolute opposite.
In their enormous Nottingham factory covered 40 acres and employed nearly 7000 workers.
For many years, in many parts of the world, the Raleigh "Sports" three-speed bicycle was considered the ultimate in human-powered transportation.
These bicycles were not toys, and, despite the model name, they were not sporting equipment..were serious vehicles.
That is not what a Raleigh Sports was about...these were designed to provide solid, dependable transportation for the British public, at a time when only the upper classes had motorcars.