Conveniently, they also usually have the month and the last two digits of the year of manufacture stamped onto the shell.This is the easiest way to date a 3-speed bicycle, if it has its original rear wheel.With these parameters in place, the whisky industry boomed.
Pattinson Ltd spent astonish amounts on marketing and sales.They seem to reflect only the number of machines produced whilst each letter was in use. (Info from the Nottinghamshire Archives) A new numbering system was introduced in 1955, though this ran concurrently with the old one for two years. Reynolds 531) frames, and involved the placing of a character at the beginning of the serial number.The new system involved a second running letter, added to the first, which began at the start of the alphabet. The character began at the start of the alphabet, and indicated year of manufacture.Around this time, production of Cognac in France stagnated due to a phylloxera epidemic, which devastated many of the vineyards, and caused a worldwide shortage of Brandy.As a result, whisky production went through the roof.
It appears that Raleigh recycled many of the older serial numbers in later years, so there are lots of bikes from the 60s and 70s that have serial numbers that would suggest much greater age.