Saturday, 8 August 2009

The Penny-Farthing

Penny-farthing, high wheel, high wheeler and ordinary are all terms used to describe a type of bicycle with a large front wheel and a much smaller rear wheel that was popular after the velocipede, or boneshaker, until the development of the safety bicycle. They were the first machines to be called bicycles. Although they are now most commonly known as 'penny-farthings', this term was not used until well after they became outdated - the first print reference is 1927. (It comes from the British penny and farthing coins, one much larger than the other so that the side view resembles a penny leading a farthing), and for most of their reign in they were simply known as 'bicycles'. In the late 1890s the retronym 'ordinary' began to be used, to distinguish them from safety bicycles.

About 1870, James Starley, described as the father of the bicycle industry, and others began producing bicycles based on the French boneshaker but with front wheels of increasing size, because larger front wheels, up to 1.5 m (60 in) in diameter, enabled higher speeds on bicycles limited to direct drive. Although the trend was short-lived, the penny-farthing became a symbol of the late Victorian era. Its popularity also coincided with the birth of cycling as a sport.

Frenchman Eugene Meyer is now regarded as the father of the High Bicycle by the International Cycling History Conference in place of James Starley. Meyer patented a wire-spoke tension wheel with individually adjustable spokes in 1869. They were called 'spider' wheels in Britain when introduced there. Meyer produced a classic high bicycle design until the 1880s

James Starley in Coventry added the tangent spokes and the mounting step to his famous bicycle named 'Ariel'. He is regarded as the father of the British cycling industry. Ball bearings, solid rubber tires and hollow-section steel frames became standard, reducing weight and making the ride much smoother.

Bicycling remained the province of the urban well-to-do, and mainly men, until the 1890s and were among the first examples of conspicuous consumption.

The nephew of one of the men responsible for popularity of the penny-farthing was largely responsible for its death. At a time of innovation chain drives were upgraded and higher speeds were achieved without the large wheel. In 1885, Starley's nephew John Kemp Starley took these new developments to launch the 'Rover Safety Bicycle', so called because the rider, seated much lower and farther behind the front wheel contact point, was less prone to "a header."

In 1888, John Dunlop reinvented the pneumatic tire, adding comfort to the new safety bicycles. By 1893 high-wheelers were no longer being produced.

Today's Smile

Why Do We Say That

This comes from the days when workmen carried their tools in sacks. If your employer gave you the sack it was time to collect your tools and go.

The expression to eat humble pie was once to eat umble pie. The umbles were the intestines or less appetising parts of an animal and servants and other lower class people ate them. So if a deer was killed the rich ate venison and those of low status ate umble pie. In time it became corrupted to eat humble pie and came to mean to debase yourself or act with humility.

This old saying comes from horse racing. If a jockey was a long way ahead of his competitors and sure to win the race he could relax and put his hands down by his sides.

In the Middle Ages knights who fought in tournaments wore a token of their lady on their sleeves. Today if you make your feelings obvious to everybody you wear your heart on your sleeve.

Animal Crackers

Church Bulletins

"Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community."
The service will close with 'Little Drops of Water'. One of the ladies will start quietly and the rest of the congregation will join in.
The Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8.30 p.m. Please use the back door.
During a Ministers illness: "God is good - Dr. Hargreaves is better."

Brainteaser - Friday's Answer

Below are the answers to yesterday's brainteaser. You were given ten clues each one representing a definition which required a single word answer. The words you were lookin for were as follows:


9/10 Excellent 7/8 Very Good 5/6 Good - Below 5 Well, they were difficult!

Something To 'Crow' About

Betty the crow bends some wire into a hook to retrieve a treat-laden bucket from a well. Watch this very clever bird in action, by clicking the video link below.Watch in full screen mode.