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Bicycle (Velocipede or Boneshaker), Cornwall Works, Birmingham, England

Bicycle (Velocipede or Boneshaker), Cornwall Works, Birmingham, England


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Royal Cornwall Museum

Royal Cornwall Museum Photo Prints and Wall Art

Bicycle (Velocipede or Boneshaker), Cornwall Works, Birmingham, England

In September 1870, this velocipede was ridden by Sir Richard Tangye from Truro to Newquay, bringing the news of the Battle of Sedan to the town. Tangyes Cornwall Works in Birmingham built large numbers of velocipedes, paying a royalty to the French Velocipede Company in order to make the bicycles. The five sons of Joseph Tangye senior, an Illogan miner, commenced their engineering and manufacturing business together in Birmingham in 1856. James (1825-1912), the eldest, was very skilled with the lathe; Joseph (1826-1902) was the creative engineer; Richard (1833-1906) dealt with public relations and sales; George (1835-1920) was the businessman; while Edward (1832-1909), a Quaker, soon left to found his own business. Velocipedes, also known as Boneshakers, due to their iron tyres, were one of the many things that were manufactured at the Cornwall Works. The business also provided the hydraulic rams required to launch the Great Eastern, Brunels ill-fated steel ship in 1857-1858, and to raise Cleopatras Needle to its present position on the London Embankment in 1878. The first direct-acting steam pumps in Europe were made at the Cornwall Works in 1867 and the firm produced James Tangyes horizontal steam engines from 1869. By 1876 the firm employed 1300 workers. The Tangyes were also philanthropists and from 1880 were founders and major benefactors of the Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum and the Birmingham School of Art. TRURI : 1937.34

Royal Cornwall Museum is the UK's Greatest Museum For Cornish Life & Culture

TRURI : 1937.34

Media ID 18833317

© RIC, photographer Mike Searle

Bike Engineering Industrial Notable Victorian Cornishman Cycle Engineer Innovation Manufacture Personalities Ride Spokes Uncomfortable Wheels


FEATURES IN THESE COLLECTIONS

> Architecture > Industrial

> Europe > France > Sport > Cycling

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > Birmingham > Related Images

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > Cornwall > Illogan

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > Cornwall > Newquay

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > Cornwall > Related Images

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > Cornwall > Truro

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > London > Museums > Brunel Museum

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > London > Royalty

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > London > Sport > Cycling

> Royal Cornwall Museum > Museum Objects > Social History


EDITORS COMMENTS
This print captures a piece of history, showcasing the iconic Bicycle (Velocipede or Boneshaker) manufactured at Cornwall Works in Birmingham, England. In September 1870, this very velocipede played a remarkable role when Sir Richard Tangye embarked on an extraordinary journey from Truro to Newquay. Riding this bicycle, he brought news of the Battle of Sedan to the town, demonstrating not only its practicality but also its significance as a means of communication. The Tangyes were pioneers in their field, with Cornwall Works producing large quantities of these velocipedes under an agreement with the French Velocipede Company. This family-run business was established by Joseph Tangye senior's five sons in 1856 and quickly gained recognition for their engineering and manufacturing prowess. Beyond bicycles, Cornwall Works contributed to various monumental projects such as providing hydraulic rams for Brunel's ill-fated steel ship Great Eastern and assisting in raising Cleopatra's Needle onto London Embankment. The firm also introduced Europe's first direct-acting steam pumps in 1867 and produced James Tangye's renowned horizontal steam engines from 1869. Notably philanthropic, the Tangyes became founders and significant benefactors of both the Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum and the Birmingham School of Art starting from 1880. Their legacy lives on through their contributions to industry as well as art and education. This print serves as a testament to innovation, craftsmanship, and historical significance associated with Cornwall Works' production during that era.

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