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The First Tadpole Tricycle

The first tricycle that I have found with the two wheels in front and the larger wheel in back (the tadpole configuration) was patented in England before 1876, and sold as by the Rudge company.   The seat was like a carriage seat, with coil springs to absorb shocks. The large rear wheel was the drive wheel, and the front wheels were for steering.  This model is propelled by levers and cranks, but this mode was later replaced by the chain and crank.  Between 1880 and 1890, this form of bike was one of the most popular cycles in England, being even more popular than two wheelers.


5 comments to The First Tadpole Tricycle

  • Really enjoyed it, I wanted to click out and
    you kept pulling me back in! Many thanks
    and keep up the great work!

  • Sune Portin

    In the late 1950ies i had a friend who had a tadpole trike made from old bike parts. It had a plywood body that was painted red. It looked like a sports car and seated two kids. Both had pedals and the one sitting to the left steered with a steering wheel. I was chain driven with the chain going from the pedals that were under the hood to the rear wheel. It was fun. To my knowledge there is no photo of the contraption and I do not know what finally happened to it.

  • John Segal


    I just found this web site that lets you download patents as PDF files for free. Its

    Thought I’d share this little gem with those that are interested.


  • Hey Thanks John! That information for the free patent retrieval service was good! I use it almost everyday at work. I like how there’s no registration and search is fast! If you know about any sites like let me know!

  • Another site I sometimes use is … or if you want to do simple keyword searches and download in PDF you can use

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