A Penny-Farthing Team

Click image to see full-size version.
Sadly, there are no discernible items to help trace this image, except the 2 last letters on the banner that is flapping in the breeze. All I can make out is "???? W.C.", which might stand for "???? Wheel Club", maybe?

There are several different styles of caps being worn, and some of the men have medals pinned to their shirts or jackets. A few have what look like stars pinned on their collars, and the guy at 3rd-row-center has 2 medals on his chest, 2 stars on his collar, and epaulettes. He could be the "Boss" of the group.

Only 1 guy, on the far-right, has a beard, 3 are clean-shaven, and the rest are sporting moustaches.

All are very serious-looking. Not a smile, grin or smirk in the group.

The penny-farthing, also known as a "high wheel", "high wheeler" or "ordinary", is a type of bicycle with a large front wheel and a much smaller rear wheel. This is a popular method of showing the difference in size of the 2 coins. It comes from the British penny and farthing coins, one much larger than the other, so that the side view resembles a penny leading a farthing.

It was popular after the "boneshaker" vehicle...

until the development of the safety bicycle in the 1880s. The Penny-Farthing was the first machine to be called a "bicycle".

Although the name "penny-farthing" is now the most common, it was probably not used until the machines were nearly outdated; the first recorded print reference is from 1891 in Bicycling News. For most of their reign, they were simply known as "bicycles".

In the late 1890s, the name "ordinary" began to be used, to distinguish them from the emerging safety bicycles; this term and "hi-wheel" (and variants) are preferred by many modern enthusiasts.

Quoted from Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penny-farthing
I found a couple of images depicting Penny-Farthing Clubs:

SF Bicycle Club-tn
San Francisco Bicycle Club on San Leandro Road between San Leandro and Milpitas; H.A. Greene, Captain.

High-wheel bicycle racing at Brockton Point, circa 1890s. Photo courtesy of City of Vancouver archives.

This is a popular early advertisement for the Penny-Farthing:



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Original date of display online:
      November, 2015

This page last updated on:
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