The ‘diableries’ are a series of stereoview cards using plasticine to create devilish scenes. You can imagine Victorians in their parlours in the 1860s viewing such images on their stereoscopes in the same way we’d watch ‘Wallace & Grommit’ on TV or play games on our mobiles.
Two of the series feature velocipedes. The first is ‘Les Pompiers de l’Enfer’ (Firemen from Hell)
The other is ‘Course de Vélocipèdes’
36″ Front Wheel
30″ Rear Wheel
Oh no. It’s Halloween, and one of Les Pompiers de l’Enfer has escaped from the diableries…
In common with most English velocipedes, this machine follows the design of the 2nd Michaud patent (illustration above). After The Coventry Machinists Company introduced the first batch of Michaud velocipedes to the British market, to great acclaim, makers all over the country started to build similar machines. Some went on to establish themselves as bicycle manufacturers, but most diversified. As with the majority of the surviving velocipedes, the maker of this example is not known, but it is an authentic machine from 1870.
The pedals and saddle are replacements. The backbone – seat spring – has an extra leaf bolted above the original which had an older repair to it. The handlebar grips appear to be original. The wheels are in good condition, but the rear in particular has play. The main frame is pitted with rust, and has been painted thickly in black. The brake is operational.
This machine was previously owned for many decades by the ‘National Cycle Collection’ which is Great Britain’s main bicycle museum, in Wales.
This genuine 144-year-old velocipede would make an excellent display piece for a museum. With a small amount of work, it could also be ridden.
A VELOCIPEDE RIDING SCHOOL
VELOCIPEDE BRAKE & HANDLEBAR
RECOMMENDED READING: DIABLERIES
36″ FRONT WHEEL
JOSEPH ROUX: ‘COURSE de VELOCIPEDES’