From 1870 to 1885, the penny farthing had a brief, but visually lasting, effect on the development of the bicycle with its very large and distinctive front driven wheel and small rear wheel. It was called a penny farthing after two British coins of the period, the large penny and the much smaller farthing, worth a quarter of a penny.
Penny farthings were difficult to mount and dismount, unstable because of their high centre of gravity, and could pitch the rider at speed over the handle bars fr...
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