Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 143,009 pages of information and 229,287 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Leicester Tricycle Co

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Leicester Tricycle.

The Leicester Tricycle Co, Station Yard, Leicester were the first cycle manufacturers to give the world a front steered tricycle.

From ‘Cycling’ by Griffin published in 1897 :- Many important and permanent improvements were introduced early this year, 1882. A firm, ‘The Leicester Safety Tricycle Co.’ introduced a tricycle late in 1881, and put it on the market in January 1882, which paved the way to the greatest and most enduring revolution in steering. It was the first machine with a pilot wheel steered by a bicycle-like handle bar.

The tricycle had two 48 inch diameter drive wheels and an 18 inch diameter front wheel and sold for what at the time was a very reasonable price of £18. Drive was via a double driving balanced gear.

From ‘The Cyclists Indispensable Annual’ of 1882 by Sturmey (page 156) :- This machine is mounted from behind and places the rider directly over his work. It can be steered with great accuracy, and can be stopped dead in a couple of yards; the safety bar coming in front preventing the rider being thrown forward.

For an extra £2 the machine could be supplied as a ‘folder’ ideal for the narrow passageways between Victorian terraced houses. This ‘Folding’ machine was remarkable for being the ONLY folding balance-geared machine currently offered by any UK cycle and tricycle manufacturer. [1]

1882 the 'Safety' tricycle.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. A. H. C. Pickering of Leicester from material supplied by Nick Clayton