‘Ordinary’ from around 1884 with Wooden Wheels
36″ Diameter Front Wheel
This delightful small ‘ordinary’ was purchased in the 1800s by the family of the current owner, Neil, in Holland.
In the photo below, you can see the bicycle being ridden in Amsterdam in 1960.
Ordinaries were normally built from size 40″ to size 56″ front wheel. A size 36″ front wheel would be suitable for someone around 5′ height.
While the first bicycles – the velocipedes of 1869 and 1870 – had wooden wheels, most ordinaries of the 1880s had metal spoked wheels. Bicycles built between these dates were called ‘transitionals’ and they had wooden wheels like this example.
Many of the top cycle manufacturers of the era made smaller machines like this in addition to their larger models, although they were invariably made to a customer’s special order. They were popular with men of shorter stature, as well as women and adolescents. The majority were metal-spoked, so a wooden-wheeled ordinary is much rarer.
The front wheel diameter is 36″ and the rear wheel diameter is 14″.
The height from the ground to the top of the saddle is 39″.
The ordinary was purchased by Neil’s great great grandfather Schaik Serle in the late 1880s.
Most of the family’s possessions were appropriated by the nazis, but for some reason this bicycle and several other items were not.
Neil first saw thew bike in Holland in the early 1960s, and then again in the late 1960s in USA. His father was an airline executive with KLM so presumably he brought it back home to the USA around that time.