The triple head was designed by George Leonard Morris in 1891 (patent No. 11125) and was fitted to ‘Referee’ bicycles made by Morris, Wilson and Co, Turnmill Street, Farringdon Road, London, in that season and the following five years.
...Illustrating the old adage that accidents materially influenced design in the early days, it is worth recalling that G. L. Morris thought out his “triple” head while in hospital recovering from a very serious accident caused by the fracture of the steering-post of a light bicycle which he was riding when pacing “Teddy” Hale in an attempt on the 100 miles road record.
– Bartleet’s Bicycle Book
George Morris of the Referee Cycle Co was one of the top innovators of the cycle industry. His ‘Triple Head’ was featured at the 1891 Stanley Cycle Show. It does provide additional strength at the front, but it also decreases the turning ability considerably!
As well as the Triple Head, Referee bicycles up until 1896 featured square section rear stays. The tandem additionally has square section on the rear cross tube. But the company is best known for their cross frame patents. G.P Mills designed Raleigh’s cross frame, and later went to work for Referee. George Morris patented a wide variety of cross frame designs. This meant that all subsequent makers of cross frame bicycles were obliged to consider either the Referee or Raleigh cross frame patents. Derek Roberts explains that the cross frame…
…really began with F. Bowden’s 1894 patent for the lady’s Raleigh. Although Bowden was granted the palent, G.P. Mills took the credit for the design. There was apparently no development until 1898, when the well-known Raleigh cross-frame appeared; it was to last for about 40 years.
Then in 1899 G. L. Morris was granted a patent that covered practically every permutation possible in tube-crossings, and the famous Referee cross-frame appeared on the market. From then on, most if not all makers of cross-frames paid royalties to either Raleigh or Referee.
1896 Referee Cross Frame Tandem
1896 REFEREE CATALOGUE
1899 GEORGE LEONARD MORRIS, REFEREE CYCLE CO CROSS FRAME PATENT
1st Patent Application 29th March 1899
Referee’s Cross Frame patent was a rival to Raleigh’s. Morris Wilson & Co was founded in 1887, with the name changing to the Referee Cycle Co Ltd around 1891.
Morris’s original crossframe patent was on 29th March 1899, whereas Raleigh’s was a year earlier. As they were different styles, both patents existed independently.
RALEIGH CROSS FRAME TANDEM DESIGN