No. 5. "Ariel" bicycle, date about 1871, manufactured by Messrs. Haynes and Jefferis, Coventry, under licence from James Starley, inventor of the tension wheel, patent No. 2236/1870. Under this patent Starley at first used spokes of sheet brass. Later he used similar strips of steel, and finally round wire. As at first made, the ends of the spokes, at the hub, were bent round to form an eye, which engaged with a horizontal stud on the flange; later the spoke ends were merely hooked into holes in the flange, as in the front wheel of this specimen. The spoke ends are covered with a brass cap, for neatness, but this is omitted in the rear wheel.
The method of tensioning the spokes should be noted: individual spokes could not be tightened separately. After the wheel was built, the crossbar -” which is brazed to the spindle between the hub flanges -” was moved by means of the two wires leading from its ends to the rim, thus tightening all the spokes at once, but not allowing for the probability of some spokes stretching more than others.
It was for the "Ariel" bicycle that James Lyne Hancock made his first round rubber tyre with soft spongy rubber on the under side and toughened rubber on the tread, an idea which has been copied in the tyre trade ever since, even with pneumatics. In the same specification as the lever tension wheel (which, by the by, Starley took out in conjunction with William Hillman) Starley patented a speed-gear which caused the front wheel to revolve twice to one revolution of the cranks surely the first instance of -"gearing up"! An "Ariel," fitted with this gear, and eight inch cranks, was ridden by J. T. Johnson at Molyneux Grounds, Wolverhampton, about 1872, when he won a race advertised as "For the Championship of the World."
The Company became Tangent and Coventry Tricycle Co in 1879 when Haynes and Jefferis went into liquidation. The following year a new company arose from the ashes, D. Rudge and Co. which, in 1894, became Rudge Whitworth Ltd.Credit: Graces Guide
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