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Lawson's 'Bicyclette', 1879.

Lawson's 'Bicyclette', 1879.
2 9 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 21cm


Patented by Henry Lawson in 1879, this bicycle represents the first step in the evolution of the modern safety cycle. Although like the ordinary or penny-farthing bicycle, the front wheel remained larger than the rear, the difference in size was not so exaggerated, making it lower, and therefore safer than its forerunner. Lawson's Bicyclette also featured the innovation of a chain drive to the rear wheel. The name given by Lawson to the machine was adopted as the generic term for all safety bicycles in the French language.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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