Replica 1885 Post Office Delivery Pentacycle

Post office pentacycle banner

Following the invention of the "Penny Farthing" in 1871 the Post Office looked into ways of using cycles to deliver the increasing volume, and hence weight of post.

Designed by Edward Burstow, an architect from Horsham in Sussex, the Pentacycle is steered by the small outer wheels whilst the main wheel is turned by pedals at the centre. The two large baskets at front and rear were a vast improvement in delivering an increased quantity of mail and many Pentacycles were rolled out to postmen in the Horsham area. The bike was notoriously difficult to steer and was hard work on hills so although the Post Office saw the benefits, many of their staff did not.

Key Facts
Year of Manufacture1885 (replica)
PowerPedals attached to central wheel
Location in MuseumUpstairs in the bicycle hall

Interesting Fact

Commonly known as a Hen and Chickens cycle, relating to the large centre wheels (Hen) surrounded by four smaller wheels (the chickens) these bicycles proved to be heavy and difficult to steer.


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