According to the comments in Griffin’s ‘Bicycle & Tricycles of the Year 1888 (extract above), by 1888, the HH&C tandem tricycle had “been very successful during the two years it has been before the public”. (I’ve not yet been able to locate a catalogue picture of the previous year’s tandem tricycle).
The example featured here would appear to be an 1886 or 1887 model, as it has open steering and the passenger portion is fixed in place. Both are features of the earliest models. The wheel sizes are also different.
Later machines were described as ‘convertible’, ie the rear passenger section could be removed to convert it to a solo tricycle. Another 1888 option was a connecting rod between the handlebars: “Double steering is gained by a rod connecting the extremeties of the handlebars, on the right side”.
A handlebar connecting rod was not popular on two-wheeled tandems, as the riders felt slightly trapped by it because they could only dismount from one side. But on a tricycle tandem this imposition was less significant. The idea was short-lived, and this is the first tandem with connecting rods that I’ve seen. I wonder if any others have survived?
1886/1887 Hillman, Herbert & Cooper ‘Premier’ Tandem Tricycle
30″ Front wheel; 36″ rear wheels
As you can see, this rare early tricycle tandem is in excellent condition. It’s ready to ride and display.
BICYCLES & TRICYCLES OF THE YEAR 1887