Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 143,418 pages of information and 230,040 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Xtraordinary Cycle

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c1879. Exhibit at the Hull Street Life Museum.
1885. Singer catalogue.
1885. Singer catalogue.
1885. Singer catalogue.
Xtraordinary owned by Mr and Mrs Denton.
Pedal detail.

1878 'Xtra Ordinary' cycle patented by George Singer on 24th October 1878. Weight 53 lbs. Made by Singer and Co Ltd., Coventry, at the suggestion of George Dominy, an amateur cyclist of Weymouth[1].

1878 One of the first safety "ordinary" cycles, so was called the Xtraordinary. [2].

This very early bicycle listed as a ‘SAFETY’ bicycle in an attempt to eliminate the dreaded ‘Header’ also known as ‘coming a cropper’ commonly experienced when riding an Ordinary (Penny Farthing). Around this time the ‘bicycle’ commonly known in the UK as a penny farthing, became the ‘ORDINARY’ Bicycle and the machines of today and others such as the Xtraordinary were known as the ‘SAFETY’ Bicycle.

The action of the rider when driving the machine can be compared to and is similar to that of a walking action, as the cranks and arms swing to and fro.

The 1885 model with a wheel size between 48 inch – 54 inch, sold for the princely sum of £21 a smaller 44 inch wheel machine offered at £19. All came with several ‘extra’s ranging from plated levers to detachable foot-rests.

Several Singer Xtraordinary machines survive today, many in Museum’s but one or two can be seen ridden at Rallies and events. [3]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Bartleet's Bicycle Book
  2. The Story of the Bicycle, by John Woodforde, 1970
  3. A. H. C. Pickering, Leicester.