The Penny Farthing

In the era of its use it was more commonly known as the High Wheel/Wheeler and it was not until it was outdated that it was affectionately dubbed the ‘Penny Farthing’ which was inspired by the old british pennies of the same names where the large penny and the far smaller quarter penny resembled the cycle.

The had an elegant charm which overshadowed its terrible design flaws. The chain mechanism had not been invented so the rider had to pedal the actual front wheel and for this to be possible the wheel had to be enormous (60in diameter). It took tremendous skill to even mount it, let alone ride it. If the front wheel hit a stone or any other obstacle that impeded the rider, they would tumble over the handle bars and do what was commonly described as ‘a header’. 


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