RICKARD & DODS HISTORY
‘Producer of a divided diamond frame in 1889. Based at 64 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE. In April 1891 the partnership with Delauncey-Dods was dissolved and James Rickard continued on his own from Westminster Wheel Works, Doris Street, Kennington, London. The firm produced the ‘Bath Road’ and ‘Westminster’ models and introduced the ‘Anfield’ in 1893. The double diamond tricycle of 1892 had double stays, rather than a seat pillar, Southard cranks, and weighed just less than 30 lb. It was priced at £28 10s. with Dunlop pneumatics.
[Thanks to Ray Miller’s Encyclopaedia’]
1890-1892 Westminster Double Diamond Safety
Rear wheel with Lovelace style spoking
Raleigh style front forks (maybe before Raleigh adopted this distinctive fork crown design)
30″ Wheels with solid tyres
I purchased this as an unidentified ‘mystery’ bike, hence my photo session outside ‘Mystery House’ in Brighton. With such a distinct ‘open’ frame design, you’d think it would have been easy to find its maker. However, after more than a week perusing advertisements and catalogues of the era, I found dozens of similar designs, but none of them was exactly the same. So I contacted Andrew Millward as I knew he had seen the bike before. He told me that it had previously belonged to his friend John Ivans, who had thought that it was a Lovelace because of the rear wheel spoking. To confuse matters, Lovelace did indeed advertise a ‘Little Wonder’ with open bottom bracket in 1891.
“I recall John buying this machine over 30 years ago and he didn’t know what it was, but I did suggest to him once I’d got to know more about old bicycles, that it was very likely to be a James Rickard Double Diamond frame ‘Westminster’. I have only seen a Rickard DD tricycle which is illustrated in HH Griffin Cycles of the Season, 1892, page 92, but the bicycle frame appears to be the same configuration as the tricycle.”
You can see the Westminster tricycle illustration at the top of the page. The only difference I can see between the Westminster tricycle and this machine is that the seat tube appears to be around an inch further back on the tricycle. Whether that was a difference between the two and three wheeler Westminsters, or a discrepancy with the artist-drawn illustration, we’ll probably never know, as there does not seem to be a surviving Westminster tricycle to compare.
Further down the page, I’ve included the other bicycles I found with open frame designs; they are listed chronologically and I’ve captioned them accordingly to create a database (or ‘study list’ as it used to be known in the Veteran Cycle Club).
OPEN FRAME SAFETY BICYCLES: 1889-1892
1891 RUDGE BICYCLETTE DIAMANT ‘MODELE H’