1889 Jackson & Beeston ‘Globe’
with Flexible Rear End
The new ‘safety’ bicycle of 1886 revolutionised personal wheeled transportation. The ‘Ordinary’ required athleticism to ride, severely restricting its sales potential. But with centrally fitted pedals using a chain to control movement via the rear wheel, the bicycle was now low enough to the ground for everyone to use. As a result, with hundreds of companies starting to manufacture bicycles, each year from 1886 onwards saw incredible evolutionary jumps in bicycle design.
One of the first problems to solve was how to adjust the chain. We take for granted now that chain adjusters are situated at the rear dropouts. However, before designers came up with that innovation, the chain was adjusted by pivoting the bottom bracket forward or backward by means of a nut and bolt. That type of arrangement had been used on tricycles of the era, and was typically used on bicycles made between 1887 and 1889. But inventors were constantly experimenting and innovating to try out other methods too.
The strangest chain adjustment design in bicycle history is the example featured here. The seat tube is duplex to create an open bottom bracket, and the entire rear end of the bicycle is flexible, pivoting not only at the bottom bracket but also at the unique flexible seat pillar. This does indeed allow for successful chain adjustment. But – with the benefit of hindsight – what a remarkably long-winded way to go about it.
This machine is awaiting restoration. It is missing its bottom bracket assembly, saddle and post, one handlebar grip and front brake.
JACKSON & BEESTON FLEXIBLE REAR END
JACKSON & BEESTON
Globe Cycle Works, Wolverhampton