Jon Sharratt's 1897 Tinkham Tricycle

This trike was made by the Tinkham Cycle Company of New York, New York in 1897. The factory was located at 306, 308 and 310 west 59th Street according to the enclosed ad. Tinkham made trikes for men, ladies and also for cargo. It has 28" rear wheels and a 26" front wheel. All 3 rims are wood. Tires are single tube all around and glued on, the front tire is about 70 years old and still in fine condition.

The frame is not a conversion but a true tricycle. The design is quite innovative; the top tube is removable if the Lady of the House desires a ride. The down tube is curved until it meets the seat tube then projects back almost to the rear axle. The bottom bracket is not fixed to the frame. It is mounted in a pivoting carrier that is adjusted by a nut on a curved threaded shaft to provide chain tensioning. Why so elaborate? The rear axle is fixed in position. It is right wheel drive with a 68" fixed gear. No brakes are installed which was common for the era.

The handlebars are period drop-style racing bars and are one piece with the stem. They are very light even by modern standards. They do not use a wedge clamp. The "head-clip" style headset clamps them in position. The Tinkham is mounted from the rear using either the left or right step; a stylized "T" in the same shape and size as the name bage is provided on both sides to protect the paint. Handling is surprisingly good; it has a solid feel and quick steering. A little "body english" is needed to keep the inside wheel down. It's a light weight machine at 33lbs.

Thanks to Jon for the above text.

Return to February 2003 Meeting Report
Return to MnHPVA Club House