The Facile was patented by John Beale on 25th January 1878. It was built by Ellis & Co of 165 Fleet Street, London, E.C.
The ‘Facile’ was undoubtedly the most successful of the many types of bicycle which came on the market prior to the introduction of the ‘Rover’ in 1885. Before the advent of the rear-driven ‘safety’ bicycle, the Facile was considered to be a ‘safety’ bicycle because its front wheel was smaller (36″ – 42″) than the ‘ordinary’ or ‘penny farthing’ (usually 50″ – 56″) of the day. It enjoyed considerable popularity and commercial success, and a club composed purely of Facile riders flourished in South London.
c1884 Ellis & Co ‘Facile’
42″ Front Wheel
This rare machine is in sound condition, requiring some light restoration if it is to be ridden. The driving gear is fully functional. The old tyres are good enough for occasional, careful riding, but, as is common with 130-year-old solid tyres, have become brittle so are likely to break if they hit a rock or pot hole.
ELLIS & Co FACILE