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Penny farthing

Old 11-07-15, 10:25 AM
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Penny farthing

Hello!







I have just got my first adult penny farthing. It misses all stuff, so I have to hunt some parts to fit. The last picture shows a simple mock up with some stuff I could get at that moment.

The odd thing about this, is that the frame is a solid black smith piece of steel. All the p-f:s I can find at Google do have a tubular type frame. Are there anybody that could tell something about itīs age?
It would be great fun if there are some information out there.

My plan is to get it working, and use it in itīs worn and patina state.

Greetings from Sweden
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Old 11-07-15, 11:39 AM
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I don't have much to add other than to say Great Find and Welcome to the forum!

Certainly will take a lot of work and hunting/fabrication to put it back together. It's true that many of the very early frames were constructed out of solid metal by blacksmiths. Tubular frames and hollow forks were introduced in the 1870s (according to Bicycle Design by Tony Hadland and Hans-Erhard Lessing, MIT Press, 2014); I'd guess what you have is at least that old.

The rear "fork" appears to have been taken quite a blow to be so far out of alignment, no?
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Old 11-07-15, 11:49 AM
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Welcome to the Forum
A big undertaking you have in front of you.
Better for a 'personal museum' than for riding; certainly unique and a piece of history.
Maybe refinishing the frame is worthwhile given the work to acquire suitable parts.
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Old 11-07-15, 12:02 PM
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Fascinating. It looks more Iron Age than Industrial Age. I wonder if it's a decorative replica? It makes me think of all the wrecked wagons in the front yards in Phoenix. How would you tell? How big is that wheel?
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Old 11-07-15, 12:31 PM
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This is so much better than I'd hoped when I clicked to open the thread. WOW!


If you do not have the fork, perhaps a blacksmith could craft a replacement fork for you.

What are the plans for a saddle? Can you get spoked wheels with pneumatic tires for it (for riding comfort)?

Last edited by Bad Lag; 11-07-15 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 11-07-15, 12:34 PM
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If you can ride that infernal thing after reconstructing it, you are a far better man than I am.


I do have a soft spot in my heart for Penny farthings from McGoohan's cult TV series, "The Prisoner"
https://img0.etsystatic.com/000/0/51....199797904.jpg
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Old 11-07-15, 12:49 PM
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Looks like my old VW Type III in the background…
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Old 11-07-15, 12:56 PM
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My first response was that it might be some kind of farm implement, like a horse drawn tiller of some kind. But I don't see any images on google that are anything like this.

I didn't see any fittings for a saddle. But googling "history penny farthing blacksmith" images found this history of bicycles in Japan. The whole bike, including the wheel, looks like it was handmade from iron and steel. (or is the wheel made of wood spokes and rim?) I'm guessing it weighs 100 pounds?

The saddle just clamps on. And the step by the rear wheel is clamped on, too.


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Old 11-07-15, 01:58 PM
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In 1869 Eugene Meyer patented the wire tension spoke for bicycle wheels. This obviously pre-dates that. Very interesting artifact. I help out at the Marin Museum of Bicycling where the collection includes two very nice, but later ordinaries.

You might want to send them some photos.
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Old 11-07-15, 04:12 PM
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Hello!

Thank you all for a pleasant welcome





I have got a childrenīs penny farthing too. Not that old, but maybe from the 1910-1920s? A bit smaller than the adult one, as picture is showing.







----

gaucho777

Thank you for a good answer. The rear fork is out of shape. At least one of the "arms" is in original shape, so it will be no problem of fixing that.Itīs a good confirmation of itīs age.

Wildwood:

Thanks I do have a personal museum with bikes, cars, motorcycles (mostly Vespas) and vintage stuff that I like. It is impossible to have all the stuff running. But I like using my vehicles. Of course I will not ride the penny farthing every day, but it would be a great pleasure using it during nice occasions. So it will fit in my museum very nicely

Darth Lefty: I can take a measure some day. Itīs a genuine wooden wheel from some kind of horse carriage. I have got the second wheel from the same carriage too.

Bad Lag: Old steel that are crafted by black smiths are quite easy to get in Sweden, especially in my area. There were litterarly smiths everywhere here for about 100 years ago. In my willage, there were at least to big ones. I am thinking about finding a piece of smith steel that I can weld my own fork. Otherwise, I can ask some of the still existing smiths in fabricating one.
I am keep looking for wheels. It will take a while, but I think I will manage it. The saddle will also be a tricky one. Must keep looking for one. Remember, these kind of stuff do still exists in many old farms in Sweden. I do visit a couple a year, to help the owners cleaning up old stuff.

John E: I can ride unicycles qiute good. Hope it will help me I do not have TV (not intrested at all), but I like that stuff

JohnDThompson: Haha, maybe not that rusty? This is my daily driver all year around. I am a hardcore aircooled VW fan as well, with a couple of different VWīs running.

rm-rf:

That was a cool one. I think that my saddle bracket will look like that. Just some kind of clamp. Quite hardcore with all steel wheels. Thanks for info.

Repack Rider: Cool museum I must visit that if I visit USA, which I would like to do. I can at least try sending a couple of pictures. Thx.
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Old 11-07-15, 04:56 PM
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Great find, looks like you've got some cool stuff.

There is this guy riding his penny farthing around the world. I saw him in Idaho a year ago coming down a steep mountain grade with his feet over the bars much the like the Death Valley video on his website.

Video - Call of the Road
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Old 11-07-15, 07:22 PM
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Dang, balls of steel!!!
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Old 11-07-15, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
I don't have much to add other than to say Great Find and Welcome to the forum!

Certainly will take a lot of work and hunting/fabrication to put it back together. It's true that many of the very early frames were constructed out of solid metal by blacksmiths. Tubular frames and hollow forks were introduced in the 1870s (according to Bicycle Design by Tony Hadland and Hans-Erhard Lessing, MIT Press, 2014); I'd guess what you have is at least that old.

The rear "fork" appears to have been taken quite a blow to be so far out of alignment, no?
I believe that would take a very large Parker frame persuader tool.
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Old 11-08-15, 06:38 PM
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Looks like this. I took this photo at the US Bicycling Hall of Fame museum in Davis.

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Old 11-08-15, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Repack Rider View Post
Looks like this. I took this photo at the US Bicycling Hall of Fame museum in Davis.


Well, that would explain the fork's absence. A wooden fork,..???!!!
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Old 11-08-15, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
Well, that would explain the fork's absence. A wooden fork,..???!!!
Nice collection and a rare find....
Regards, Ben
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Old 11-09-15, 04:03 PM
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Hello!

Crazy guy that rides all over the world with a penny farthing. Like that!

Repack Rider: Very interesting picture. I have never thougt about a wooden fork. But itīs possible that the fork and wheels was made of wood. It gives the project a new turn
There are at least to pf:s in my town. It lives about 5000 people here, so I think that would be like a block in the US. One belongs to an association of the town, where they keep saving old stuff in an couple of old wooden buildings. These associations are quite common in Sweden. I donīt know if you got something equal in the US? :

https://translate.google.se/translat...5rd&edit-text=

They do have an exemplar, as well a local bike collector. Itīs time to visit them in rebuilding my bike. It is always good to see a working one when building and collecting missing stuff.

Thank you all for good support

Greetings "from the other side of the litte lake"

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Old 11-09-15, 05:19 PM
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Wood wheels were likely, but I doubt it was a wooden fork based on the construction of the frame--specifically the open box section where the frame would mount. Note the wooden fork example above has a hinge mechanism for steering. On the other hand, the "open box" section on your frame with the two holes at the top and bottom, is where the (metal) steerer tube from a fork would go, fitted with a sort of headset gear box for steering. There are some similar arrangements shown in the Bicycle Design book I mentioned above, but none that are an exact match.

Metal spoked wheels were around dating back as far as 1868 or 1869 (Eugene Meyer, Paris), but still incorporated metal bands around wood for the rims. (A constant repair item due to poor roads and wood damage and/or slippage from the bands).

Even some of the first ordinaries/high-wheelers/penny-farthings had very intricate and lovely design work. Wrought iron artisans were frequently involved in the fabricating of these early bicycles. The example above seems quite crude by comparison. Not to disparage it at all. Still very cool, but it has more of a blue collar ironsmith feel than an embellished play-thing of the wealthy elite. Have you found any markings on it anywhere? I would not be surprised if this turns out to be a DIY frame made by a blacksmith rather than a production model one could order.

(Disclaimer: Take the above speculation with a grain of salt. I'm by no means an expert on bikes from this era.)
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Old 11-09-15, 07:54 PM
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I dont know if this will help, but this California company makes some really nice penny-farthing style bicycles and might be able to help with parts:

Parts and Accessories - Rideable Bicycle Replicas
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Old 05-14-17, 04:13 PM
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There are some kind of rule, that says that I canīt post any URL links without ten posts. So I have to make seven here, before I can show you the pics. I hope itīs OK! I donīt have so much to write about in other threads at the moment.
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Old 05-14-17, 04:14 PM
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test 1
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Old 05-14-17, 04:15 PM
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test 2
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Old 05-14-17, 04:16 PM
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test 3
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Old 05-14-17, 04:17 PM
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test 4
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Old 05-14-17, 04:18 PM
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