You may recall his Board Track Racer and Rat Rod. He has now added to the menagerie with this replica DIY High Wheel.
This style of bike was called a 'High Wheel', a 'High Wheeler' and an 'Ordinary' but, was most often referred to as a 'Penny-farthing'. The name came from the British 'penny' and 'farthing' coins - one was much larger than the other, just as the wheels of this bike.
They were first introduced around 1870 and were popular among the elite class. The larger wheel provided a smoother ride over the bumpy cobblestone roads of the day and offered faster speeds.
While the larger wheel had its benefits, it also had a downside. It made the bike difficult to mount and there was a learning curve for the riders. A more serious problem occured when the rider hit rocks or ruts with a high potential of being thrown off the bike, head first. Far too often, this resulted in serious injuries or death.
The high risk nature of the 'High Wheel' and the invention of the pneumatic tire and chain drives caused the final demise of the "Penny-farthing'. Production of the once popular bicycle ended in 1893.
Time and patience served my husband well in the resurrection of this long forgotten piece of history.
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