Rudge 'ordinary' or 'penny farthing' bicycle

Made:
1884
maker:
Rudge-Whitworth Limited

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Rudge Ordinary bicycle of 1884, lightened for racing purposes

Bicycles like this were popular from the 1870s. In the 1890s they became known as 'ordinaries' to distinguish them from the newfangled 'safety' bicycles. With a large front wheel you could go further with each turn of the pedals - but riding so high up was awkward and unstable. These bicycles also had the nickname 'penny-farthing' because the large and small wheels reminded people of the relative sizes of the penny and farthing coins.

Details

Category:
Road Transport
Object Number:
1901-7
type:
bicycle
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • vehicle - transportation
  • land vehicle
  • passenger vehicle
credit:
Rudge-Whitworth Ltd.