Archive for January 4th, 2019

January 4, 2019

Penny-farthing

Penny-farthing

The penny-farthing, also known as a ‘high wheel,’ ‘high wheeler,’ and ‘ordinary,’ was the first machine to be called a ‘bicycle.’ It was popular in the 1870s and 1880s, with its large front wheel providing high speeds (owing to it travelling a large distance for every rotation of the legs) and comfort (the large wheel also provides greater shock absorption). Although the trend was short-lived, the penny-farthing became a symbol of the late Victorian era. Its popularity also coincided with the birth of cycling as a sport.

It became obsolete from the late 1880s with the development of modern bicycles, which provided similar speed amplification via chain-driven gear trains and comfort through pneumatic tyres, and were marketed in comparison to penny-farthings as ‘safety bicycles’ due to the reduced danger of falling and the reduced height to fall from.

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