Pieced Pastimes: DIY High Wheel aka Penny Farthing

Sunday, May 24, 2015

DIY High Wheel aka Penny Farthing

A deep appreciation for the past and and the skill of an iron workers hands have come together in this, my husbands latest build.


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 and our yard is now reaping the benefits of this blast from the past.



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8 comments:

  1. FANTASTIC reproduction by your husband! I live in the UK and there's a pub not far from us called ....... you guessed it, the Penny Farthing. The lovely thing is that they have what I assume to be an original Penny Farthing parked up outside.

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  2. This looks so vintage. I liked it.

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  3. I love your bike. I have been trying to get my brother to built me one. I will show him your blog. I love it. xo

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  4. How cool! Your husband did a wonderful job. I always wanted to ride one and never had the opportunity. Now I would worry about a spill.

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  5. Very cool! My Luke is in the hot rod / classic car restoration biz, and he loved this! Please come share your blog posts over at the Home Matters Linky Party! We'd love to have you for a visit. The Door is OPEN. http://lifewithlorelai.com/2015/05/28/home-matters-linky-party-39/ :)

    ~Lorelai
    Life With Lorelai

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  6. Wow, Suzanne! Your husband is one talented dude! I absolutely love this and it is sure to become a family treasure. So special!

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