STARLEY ARIEL & TANGENT
8) The Tangent and Special Tangent were made up to 1880 but dropped by Rudge in 1881 although I think the wheel continued for a while on their Coventry tricycle.
9) Jan 1877, Voluntary liquidation of Smith and Starley
1871 Starley Ariel
Replica with 40″ front wheel
I have the remians of an 1871 Ariel, but it’s too rusty for a practical restoration. As a result I was interested in a replica version. This one was built by a master craftsman, and I sold it last month. He has only made four: the first prototype he kept for himself, and the other two are on the way to me.
This first model of ‘ordinary’ (penny farthing) is historically significant because of its wheel design: if you examine the photos in detail you can see how these first wire spokes were fitted. This first pattern of Ariel also has a chain tensioner fitted to the centre of the pedal axles for spoke adjustment.
The 1871 Ariel also indirectly led to the founding of three of the most important British vehicle manufacturers:
1. William Hillman subsequently founded ‘Hillman, Herbert & Cooper’ who made ‘The Premier’, the first successful safety bicycle. Hillman later made cars.
2. Starley’s company went through various transformations, eventually evolving into D Rudge & Co, which became Rudge-Whitworth.
3. Starley’s nephew J.K Starley, who worked for him, founded Rover.
The Ariel name resurfaced in the 1890s as the Ariel Cycle Co.
ORIGINAL (RUSTY) 1871 STARLEY ARIEL
Thanks to Nick Clayton for sending me the text at the top of the page