As well as being the first ‘ordinary’ (penny farthing), this model is historically significant because it 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.
1873 Starley Ariel
Size: 46″ Front wheel
This historic Ariel machine was found in a river. The frame is very rusty. I’d planned to leave it like this, as a museum display piece to illustrate how many (subsequently) restored bicycles are found. However, with some time to spare during the 2020 lockdown, my friend Paul decided to build a few replica 1871 Ariels with tangent wheels for me to resell (see the link at the bottom of the page).
Now he has completed those, I’ve managed to convince him to create the missing parts for this original one. Last week he took the frame, has freed off the steering head so it turns, and yesterday he sent me some photos of it mocked up with a wheel rim to give an indication of how it will look when it’s done. I’ve added those pictures here, and will add more as the work progresses.
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 ARIEL with TANGENT WHEELS
Thanks to Nick Clayton for sending me the historic information