In 1879 E.M. Bowden applied for patent 14,402 for "the use of a flexible inextensible wire inside an flexible inextensible tube". It's first use was for bicycle brake actuation. Before this all mechanical linkages were variations of rod and lever assemblies. Nearly 140 years later, the invention is as relevant as it ever was.
The company's foray into carburetion in the 1920s was less successful, though the logo seems to be inspired by (copied from) Triumph!