1871 James Starley Ariel


I had the remains of an 1873 Ariel that was too rusty for a practical restoration. As a result I was interested in a replica version. This copy of the first (1871) penny farthing was built by a friend who is a master craftsman. He has only made four, using the original patent as his design guide.

The wheel design on this first model of ‘ordinary’ (penny farthing) is particularly interesting: if you examine the photos in detail you can see how these first wire spokes were fitted. This first pattern of Ariel has a chain tensioner fitted to the centre of the pedal axles for spoke adjustment.

These machines were originally built along the lines of a wooden wheel velocipede. The front wheel is 40″ and the rear wheel is larger than later penny farthings. It could be considered a ‘transitional’ velocipede, but with metal wheels and spokes. The 40″ front wheel makes it easier for learning to ride.

To see it at The Museum click here…

Availability: In stock

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1871 Starley Ariel

V section tension spoked wheels

Replica of the first penny farthing

40″ front wheel



WIDTH: 21″

Limited Production: frame no 4

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