KANGAROO – DWARF SAFETY, Hillman, Herbert & Cooper, England

First machines in Kangaroo "style"

The Kangaroo bicycle with chain gears and chain drive was introduced by Hillman, Herbert & Cooper of Coventry (Premier Works ) displayed at the Stanley Show in the Floral Hall, Covent Garden, London in February 1884. This type soon became known as a Dwarf Safety, characterizing the style and advantages of the machine. The front wheel was only 36” (92.4 cm) dia. but the drive, consisting of two chains and four chain wheels, one set on each side of the front wheel, geared it up to the equivalent of a 56” high-wheel bicycle (142 cm). The small back wheel was 22” (55 cm), the overall weight of 40 pounds (21.5 kg), and was priced initially £17. William Hillman had patented the chain drive on March 6, 1884, No. 4487.  Many similar systems had been proposed in the previous decade and a half.

Kangaroo 1

Being strongly promoted by HH&C the Kangaroo was the big success of 1884 and most manufacturers produced their own dwarf safeties the following season. Many avoided patent infringement by adjusting the chain by moving the lower bracket whilst on the Kangaroo the leg length always remained the same and the adjustment moved the wheel closer to the backbone as the chain stretched. 1885 saw the introduction of the Rover and other rear-driving safeties. HH&C withdrew the Kangaroo in 1888.


1868: Probably the first attempts to gear a velocipede took place in France. Here, Florentin Constant Hazard was the first to submit a patent, on February 27, 1868 (No. 79748). This consisted of three toothed wheels, transferring force from the pedals to the driving wheel.

1868: Second French patent on this subject with an accompanying sketch from the Parisian manufacturer Sargent. It was submitted on October 8, 1868 (No. 80091) and deals with a gear of two toothed wheels directly on the axle of the front wheel.

1869: On March 30, 1869, W.W. Harris applied for English temporary protection (No. 950) for a drive consisting of one or more toothed wheels connected with the front driving wheel on the principle of a planet gear, driven by pedals.

Kangaroo 2

The principle of the gears in this machine is very similar to the patent of F.C. Hazard but the individual parts of the machine are different.The velocipede is not labelled anywhere and does not have a production label, and thus the only indication for us is a certain similarity of part of the frame and the back fork, including the braces, with those of the French manufacturer Companie Parisienne. The gear wheel also acted as a flywheel to maintain the attained speed. The two variations of location of the pedals were probably intended for adjustment according to leg length. If the rider wanted to go forward and used the upper pedal for propulsion, then he had to pedal in the opposite direction to normally, i.e. backwards. At the present time, this is probably the only preserved product with such a mechanism. In general, it can be considered to be a unique prototype, which also played its part in the history of development of the velocipede. The machine is located in the exhibition in the Museé du Vélo et de la Moto in Domazan in France.

Kangaroo 3

1869: N. Wilson protected his invention (English temporary protection No. 1248) on April 23, 1869. The rider turns the toothed gear wheel using the pedals; this drives the driven wheel either by chains or a system of further toothed wheels. It is apparent from the illustration that the principle of propulsion of this type of boneshaker is very similar to the gear design of the Kangaroo type.

1870: James Starley and William Hillman patented gearing by spur wheels fixed to the front forks and even included a freewheel, in England on August 11, 1870 (No. 2336), this was a variant (unsuccessful) of their Ariel high-wheel bicycle.

1871: Emile Viarengo de Forville obtained French patent No. 92811 on September 30, 1871. He described a propulsion system with the possibility of changing the gearing by engaging toothed wheels of various diameters. It was possible to change gears only when the bicycle was not in motion.In the same year, E. V. de Forville constructed a machine with a similar gear design on the back wheel. The documentation is now well known, but this did not get any praise at the time.

Kangaroo 4

August 11, 1870 - J. Starley and W. Hillman patented a gear mechanism that they later used in various other machines. The photograph from the book “Mit dem Rad durch zwei Jahrhunderte” (1979) was taken in the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry. A very similar machine manufactured by HH&C is also in the collections of the Dutch Velorama museum.

Kangaroo 5

1877: J. Trigwell registered a patent for a machine driven by a toothed wheel with pedals on January 10, 1877 (No. 131).The front wheel is driven through two more toothed wheels.

1877: On December 10, 1877, J.S. Smith, founder of The Surrey Machinists Company, submitted an application for another English patent, describing a new fork shape and especially a propulsion mechanism (No. 4687). A belt is used to transfer the force from the driving wheel to the driven wheel. According to Louis Bonneville, Smith had attended the 1876 Tours-Angers race and copied the ideas of Truffault.

1878: The Englishman W. Morton submitted a patent application (No. 2258) on June 6, 1878, describing a bicycle propulsion principle. A rather complicated lever system rotated an auxiliary toothed wheel, from which a chain transferred the driving force to the driven wheel on the front wheel axle.

Kangaroo 6

1878: In England, E.C.F. Otto and J. Wallis patented a drive mechanism for bicycles using a chain or belt from the axle located on a widened fork under the centre of the front wheel (No. 2774 of June 11, 1878).

1879: H.H. Lake (patent agent) filed a propulsion and braking mechanism (No. 5284 of December 27, 1879).The machine was driven by two toothed wheels, through which the motion of the pedals was transferred directly to the driving wheel.

1880: In England (May 15, 1880, No. 2007), J. Hall patented a high-wheel bicycle with a fork prolonged under the axle of the wheel, where a crank with a toothed wheel was located, through which the machine was propelled through another inserted toothed wheel. The mechanism even provided for two selectable gears.

Kangaroo 7

1880:  In England (October 11, 1880, No. 4257), E.C.F. Otto patented the Unicycle with a gear mechanism. He had already submitted similar patents in 1879 (No. 1274 and No. 2164) and one (No. 1673) in 1880. All were concerned with mechanical gears, drives for tricycles and other machines. Soon after this, he constructed another improved version of a 36” wheel with a gear mechanism.After the Otto & Wallis company, where he was employed, was incorporated into Coupe, Addy & Hall in Tinsley in Sheffield, this improved model was presented under the name “Hall Safety” at the Stanley Show in 1882.The bicycle was manufactured in 36” and 40” sizes and did not have chains, but rather three toothed wheels (driving 4 1/2”, medium 2 1/2”, and large, rotated by the pedals, 7 ½”, corresponding to a 60” high-wheel bicycle in one rotation of the pedals). The toothed wheels were located under a protective cover.

The Surrey Machinists Co. presented a similar machine in 1882, as did H. Hall, a London bicycle manufacturer, who worked on this drive concept with Edouard Carl Friederich Otto. He toyed with this idea in a number of companies where he worked. An almost identical bicycle by

Alfred Rousseau was illustrated in La Velocipede Illustree1 May 1883.

Attempts to gear a bicycle for speed were based on efforts to increase the speed or even change gear during travel. The list is certainly not complete, but it is a good illustration of what was taking place in this area before the Kangaroo.


1883: From the viewpoint of chronology, it is interesting that, in this year, W. Hillman constructed his first experimental Kangaroo, but without chains. It had three toothed-wheels on each side with the possibility of adjusting them and thus reducing looseness following wear of the wheel sets.

1884: In England, C. Lee submitted a patent (No. 614 of January 4, 1884) with a bent front fork, extended under the axle of the front wheel, to which was connected an auxiliary axle with a toothed wheel and pedals.

Kangaroo 8

Rousseau of Marseille, France, a company known for its construction of boneshakers, made this gear safety high wheel bicycle, often called the ‘Sur’, in May 1883 (not in 1877, as often stated). The contraption was similar to the Kangaroo by Hillman, Herbert & Cooper (introduced in February 1884), especially due to its silhouette, the principle of gears and most of all the extension of the front fork under the shaft of the driven wheel. It is a known fact that Hillman also constructed such a machine in 1883, but with cog-wheel gearing. Who ‘copied’ whom, if at all, is still unclear.

In May 1883, La Vélocipéde Illustrée printed an article with a picture of Rousseau’s bicycle. Alfred Rousseau (born in 1852) experimented with a tricycle in 1867, the first machine he built in his father’s workshops, called the Trimonocycle. He promoted innovations and his own technical solutions. As early as 1868, he understood that not only would it be necessary to increase the quality, but also to decrease the weight. In 1868, his bicycles weighed only 25 to 28kg, which was approximately a quarter less than those of his competitors. We must also mention the Rousseau bicycle from the collection at the Velorama Museum (Netherlands), which is one of the most beautiful.

Kangaroo 9

This machine, discovered in eastern England in 2008, is proof that research can never be considered complete. This is most probably a French machine of a high standard. The gear wheel system appears to be subsequently installed by a skilled blacksmith or local mechanic.It is quite possible that the components came from a textile or farm machine. In addition, the front wheel has a rubber tyre for a more comfortable ride. The rubber is glued to leather and this is tacked onto the wooden wheel rim using a great many small nails. The back, not original wheel came from an Ariel high-wheel bicycle. The velocipede is owned by a family that was engaged in the manufacture of furniture and upholstery for a great many generations. The owners are of the opinion that one of their ancestors bought it some time around 1870. The entire story was described in the summer of 2008 by Scotford Lawrence at the XIXth ICHC conference in Saint Etiénne in France. Scotford Lawrence is trying to obtain the machine for the collection of The National Cycle Museum in England.

Kangaroo 10

What did patent No. 4487 of March 6, 1884 (assigned only to W. Hillman) of the Hillman, Herbert & Cooper company actually achieve? It was the first to successfully use chain drive propulsion for a single-track machine and simultaneously defined the arrangement of the toothed wheels and their mutual ratio. The chain was nothing new at that time having already proven its worth on tricycles since James Starley’s Salvo was launched in 1879. By 1883, tricycles were more numerous than bicycles at the London Show. The Kangaroo was the first bicycle that brought to practical use what predecessors had already commenced but not implemented.

In August of 1885, the English magazine The Wheel World wrote on this subject:  


„When Mr. William Hillman first brought out the Kangaroo, or geared-up safety bicycle driven by two chains, everybody said the idea was not new, but at the same time it is passing strange that no one had thought of putting it into practical shape before.“


Kangaroo 11

Hillman, Herbert and Cooper were experienced businessmen and were aware that new ideas must be given suitable publicity. On 20 September, 1884, they promoted an endurance race over 100 miles from Twyford to Norman Cross just for riders on Kangaroo bicycles.George Smith of the Merry Rovers Club won with a time of 7 h 11 min and 10s. A world record on the road. Smith himself beat this time by almost 6 minutes in the following year on a Rover so HHC announced another race for October 20, 1885. The prizes reflected the enormous interest from the media, sponsors and the public. The winner would receive a tricycle or Kangaroo with a value of 25 pounds, the second a Kangaroo worth 20 pounds and the third prize was a watch. The winner could also receive a special prize for a time under 7 hours - a piano worth 66 pounds, an incredible reward.  E. “Teddy” Hall came in for this prize with a time that no one could beat - 6 h 39 min 10 s.

The Kangaroo could not match the high-wheel bicycle in speed on the track, but it was reliable over longer routes and found an ever-increasing number of fans. Its introduction was followed by a period when some riders praised Kangaroos, while others said it was worthless and raved about the classical high-wheel bicycle.


 Photograph on which a beautiful Kangaroo can be seen in the foreground. It was taken in England at the traditional Harrogate Meet held by the Cyclist Tourist Club on June 1-6, 1884. This was a large meeting of riders, where the organizer registered around 20,000 participants.In 1888, in the introduction to the magazine in The Gazette, the publisher objected to naming Eduard Clark as President of the “Harrogate Meet” for that year.Clark did not leave it at that and sued the editor, Eric Shipton and also the club for defamation. Their court case was then a subject for a great many discussions in cycling and sports magazines.Clark was a noisy “Yorkshire man” who liked drinking and noisy company and his tent did not accidentally bear the name “Newcastle Coal Hole”. In its time, Newcastle was a famous coal port and a coal hole is a hole in the pavement through which coal was thrown into a cellar. Anyone who does not live in England would need a course in English nationalism and snobbery to better understand the altercation between Shipton and the miners from Tyneside, the area around the River Tyne. We are of the opinion that the man on the photograph on the left is Eduard Clark.

Archive: Lorne Schields– Canada


Kangaroo 12

The True Kangaroo

Because the small front wheel lowered the whole structure, the Kangaroo meant greater safety although as Henry Sturmey pointed out ‘upright forks and small back wheel render a cropper as easy of occurrence as on an ordinary bicycle’. It was mostly sold with a front wheel diameter of 36” (91.5 cm), exceptionally with a 38” wheel (96.5 cm) or even 40” wheel (101.5 cm).

The drive mechanism consists of a crank on each side, fitted in a bearing on the lower end of the arm of the fork blade. The pedals are firmly attached to a cranks on an axles which drive chain wheels.

The gear ratio is then the ratio of the driving to the driven wheel.For example, if the driving wheel with the pedal has 12 teeth and the driven wheel on the axle of the wheel has 8 teeth, then the ratio is 12/8, i.e. 1.5. The wheel turns one and a half times for every rotation of the crank. In other words, a Kangaroo with a front wheel diameter of 36” and gear wheels with 12 and 8 teeth corresponds to a high-wheel bicycle with a front-wheel diameter of 54”.

As mentioned above, not all Kangaroos are the same; they can differ in the gear ratio and diameter of the front wheel.For rapid orientation, a strange equation is always stamped on the head of the steering, e.g. 38 = 51, which could annoy a strict mathematician.However, cyclists are well aware that this means gearing a bicycle from 38 to 51 inches. However, there can be quite fundamental differences. In ‘ The Indispensable Handbook to The Safety Bicycle of 1885, concerned with describing safety bicycles of this period, Henry Sturmey gives a detailed description of the Kangaroo.He states that a 36” machine is geared to 56”. In contrast, specimens from the same shipment that are well known in Bohemia (one is in the collection of the National Technical Museum in Prague, prod. no. 21002, and the second in the First Czech Cycling Museum in Nové Hrady, prod. no. 21003) have gears corresponding to 48” for size 36”.

In spite of the short time during which it was manufactured, the Kangaroo underwent a great many changes.The first model had an open steering head. However, most of the machines had a classic “Stanley” head, familiar from high-wheel bicycles of an earlier period. Bicycles were normally sold as 36’ = 54”, with a 22” back wheel.  The machine had four bearings of HH&C design and a special seat spring, replaced in later models by various types of Humber-type seats.

An interesting feature is a point where the backbone is inserted into the head. There are four holes above one another  which allows easy adjustment of the seat for the rider of different heights.

Special foot rests allowed the legs to be stretched out forwards and the rider to lie back on long downhill runs. The rider rested and also reduced the aerodynamic resistance, which was difficult to do on a high-wheel bicycle. At this time, interest began to focus on air resistance, which has a great effect on bicycle speed. However, more sporting riders considered footrests to be an unnecessary tourist addition, perhaps suitable for older men, and thus they frequently criticized them. In 1886 and 1887, the company offered several models of this bicycle (models No. 1, 2 and 3), which had an identical gear mechanism and differed in the shape of the handlebars, hand grips, use of hollow or full wheel rims and various types of seats, seat springs and pedals. The racetrack model Kangaroo Racer 40”, with a back wheel that was only 16” in diameter, completed the series. This fragile machine weighed only 23 pounds (10.4 kg) compared to the tourist model, which weighed 40 to 48 pounds (18 to 21.8 kg).

Kangaroo 13

The bicycle in the Biczycle Collection

This is a typical model with a 36” front wheel. The solid rims have the cross section profile of a crescent moon. The front wheel is fitted in double-row ball bearings of the HH&C type; the gear wheels are connected by Abingdon chains. The front fork is made of hollow tubes; the manufacturer designated the frame of the bicycle as semi-hollow, which means that the upper part of the frame with an oval cross-section is hollow and the back fork forged of solid material.

Accessories were available for the bicycle for an extra charge. Primarily, these were the characteristic footrests for traveling downhill, with which the exhibited bicycle is equipped. A mudguard for the back wheel was also available. At a certain time, it was possible to install chain guards, which are now rarely seen.

The Kangaroo is in original condition, including original paint, period rubber tyres, pedals and foot rests, including the rubber items. The Nagel seat is the original German invention, favoured especially by cycle tourists. The leather on the seat consists of two separate parts joined by leather lacing. This allowed tightening or loosening the tension in the leather and to adjust according to the wishes of the rider, who also enjoyed pleasant ventilation during the trip.

Kangaroo 14

We said that the bicycle in the collection has an interesting design. There are not many original Kangaroos that have been preserved. They are not commonly found. This machine bears the etched mark of the manufacturer with the name of the bicycle on the seat spring. All the components of the bicycle that were originally nickel-plated, (handlebars, brakes, pedals, seat spring) are affected in places by corrosion, although not extensively, and the writing on the seat spring has been preserved.We consider this detail to be a wonderful feature. It is quite clear that the mark was intended to promote the product. It proudly states: KANGAROO PATENT.

Kangaroo 15

Technical data:

Brand: Hillman, Herbert & Cooper

Model: Kangaroo - Dwarf Safety                

Manufacturer: Hillman, Herbert & Cooper, Premier Works, Coventry, England

Production number:  36.735

Size of the front wheel:36” (91.5 cm), number of spokes: 50

Size of the back wheel:21¼” (54 cm), number of spokes: 24

Weight: 44- 48 pounds (20 – 21.8 kg), catalogue data, 21.1 kg in actual fact

Collection registration number:153

Renovation: Jano Rečo, 2007

Origin: Private collection, France



D. Rudge & Co., Anglie

The Kangaroo was presented in 1884 by Hillman, Herbert & Cooper. It came out somewhat later and, in contrast to the Xtraordinary Challenge, had a chain gear system using pedals that turned in the same way as in high-wheel bicycles. The rotating vs. up-and-down motion of the legs is a frequent subject of lay and professional discussions.

Kangaroo - Daniel Rudge

The Kangaroo, which very soon enjoyed enormous popularity, did not let the other manufacturers sleep. A year after introduction of this machine at the Stanley Show in February of 1884, a number of companies brought out similar systems in order to satisfy customers who were hungering for a machine of this design. 1886 can be considered a time when practically every more important company was offering a safety bicycle of this type in its product range. These copies frequently came close to infringing on patent rights. The manufacturers did not let themselves be put off even by the threat of possible sanctions in potential court cases. The Rudge company could, of course, not remain in the background and brought out its version under the simple name Safety. The structural designs of the various companies were frequently hard to distinguish from the original model.The design spread so rapidly that the original name Kangaroo from H.H. & C. became so generally accepted and widely used that it became a synonym for a machine with a smaller front wheel driven by a chain gear system.At that time, it seems that the Kangaroo would be even more popular than the high-wheel bicycle because of its easier operation and greater safety.

Kangaroo - Dan Rudge safety

The advertising materials stated:“Riding this bicycle is safe even at night, even without taking into account such petty problems as scattered stones or a rock or even a stray dog.” Perhaps the machine was easier to ride, but there were justified complaints that the machine shook unpleasantly at higher speeds. The pressure of the feet on either side was outside of the axis of rotation of the wheels and, when greater force was exerted, every treading of the pedals had a tendency to sheer the bicycle out of the direction of riding. It was necessary to compensate this pressure with the handlebars and to attempt to keep the bicycle moving in a straight line. In contrast, at greater speeds, the classical high-wheel bicycle had greater gyroscopic force or inertia effect, which stabilized the machine.

The success of Kangaroo type bicycles was impressive and they were at the height of interest in 1885 and 1886.The individual companies vied with one another, each stating that that its system was the best and most reliable. However, this safety bicycle phenomenon disappeared as rapidly as it emerged. It was forced out by a bicycle with a gear drive on the back wheel – the Rover Safety. After 1888, the Kangaroo completely disappeared from the pages of catalogues. However, it remained for all time an important design link between high-wheel bicycles and machines with a chain-driven back-wheel drive.

George Woodcock (1836-1891)

graduated in law but, over time, began to be more interested in commerce and bicycles than in legislation and law.He took up this field with enthusiasm. In 1880, as the owner of the Coventry Tricycle Co., formed by merging of the Smith & Starley and Haynes & Jefferis companies, he purchased the company of Daniel Rudge after his death. Thus, he established D. Rudge & Co., which he owned and managed himself. It is no exaggeration to say that the “golden age” that the D. Rudge company enjoyed in 1880 – 1887 is connected with his name. It was G. Woodcock who managed to expand the company and make it famous at an unbelievable rate.In Coventry, where he spent most of his life, he was known as a generous patron, who was amongst the prominent and popular citizens of the city.He had an important influence on the expansion of the tire industry and development of the bicycle. The pen-and-ink drawing was published in the English Cycling magazine on May 23, 1891.

Kangaroo - George Woodcock

Rudge Safety

1885 – 1886 was a period for the Rudge company in which both the company and the range of its products developed at an enormous rate. For technicians, this must have been a marvelous time of development of fantasy and creative efforts.At that time, there was a predominance of high-wheel bicycles on the market, which were preferred by riders, who did not intend to be satisfied with any other design. The company manufactured a great many tricycle types and designs for one or more riders. In 1879, as the Tangent and Coventry Tricycle Co., it brought out its first safety bicycle with rear-wheel drive – the Bicyclette. Designed by Harry Lawson this failed to sell but in 1887 with Lawson now works manager the name was revived for their answer to Starley’s successful Rover safety.

Rudge also manufactured the Kangaroo Safety design machine between 1885 and 1889; this machine had its own structural elements and especially the pride of the company – its own ball bearings and chain tightening system. Over this entire period, the machine had a single design, with a front wheel with a diameter of 36”, 38” or 40”. The catalogue stated the riders for which each size was recommended.The size of the front wheel was used as a scale. A 36” Safety was recommended by the Rudge company catalogue for riders who rode a 50” – 53” high-wheel bicycle.

In 1885, when they placed this bicycle on the market, it cost 17 pounds in England (for all sizes) and 140 US dollars in America. Although this was a new product, the price was only slightly higher than for normal kinds of high-wheel bicycles.

The machine was constructed exclusively of their own components, including the bearings. The only component from a subcontractor was the tried-and-true Morgan chain. The customer could select the colour of the bicycle, nickel-plated components and various accessories according to his taste. One example of many: the American representative of Rudge in Boston, Stoddard, Lovering & Co., offered a crocodile leather seat for only 4 dollars.

All the machines on next photogallery are taken from the book of Henry Sturmey – Indispensable Handbook to the Safety Bicycle 1885. It contains a summary of the available “safety” machines with front-wheel drive by a chain (denoted as the Kangaroo type) and describes all of 44 models.

Kangaroo - Sturmey

The Rudge safety in the “Biczycle collection”

The history of this bicycle is not known. However, its condition tells us a great deal about its previous owner.For the machine to remain with perfect nickel plating after more than 120 years, with the original undamaged paint and with residues of the original coloured lines, it must have been cared for very painstakingly over the entire time. On the other hand, the normal wear and tear of the individual components indicates that this machine was used. Slight traces of rough handling can be seen on the lower bearing casings which tighten the chain when slid into the prolonged front fork. Here are clearly visible sharp grooves from a mallet or hammer, where someone probably tried to improve the tightening of the chain without sufficiently loosening the screws.

Morgan chains were the best and simultaneously the lightest and thus were used in the construction of racing machines by various companies.

Kangaroo - Morgans chain

The readily legible production number 18 033 facilitates assignment of a production date. The carefully kept English register of the brand unambiguously indicates that the date of production was 1885, i.e. the first year of production of this model. A detailed inspection of the bicycle confirms the high technical level of the Rudge company, which was capable of designing and including bicycles with complicated designs in its series production.

The front wheel has a size of 40”, intended for riders with greater height and strength, who wanted a machine with gears equivalent to a high-wheel bicycle with wheel diameter of 60”, i.e. the largest manufactured. After all, the forty-inch Rudge Safety is the largest bicycle of the Kangaroo type manufactured amongst all brands and manufacturers. This size emphasizes the beauty of the whole design.

The bicycle does not have the original leather on the seat or the original rubber tires. Only a few spokes were replaced during the use of the machine. All the other components are the original ones without any contemporary intervention.

Robert Šterba and Jan Králík

The authors wish to thank Nick Clayton, Scotford Lawrence and Lorne Shields

Kangaroo - Rudge Safety 1885

Technical data:

Brand: RUDGE                     Model: Rudge Safety

Manufacturer: D. Rudge & Co.

Serial number:  18 033

Size of the front wheel40" (101.5 cm), number of spokes: 40

Size of the back wheel:16" (40.5 cm), number of spokes: 20

Weight: 38 pounds (17.2 kg) for all sizes (catalogue information),

Actual weight (40"):21.5 kg

Collection registration number:128

Renovation: original condition, not renovated

Origin: ex Deutsches Fahrradmuseum, Bad Brückenau


Archive Robert Štěrba, HH&C company catalogue

David V. Herlihy: Bicycle, The History, 2004

The Wheelmen: 1990

H. W. Bartleet: Bartleets Bicycle Book, 1931

Nick Clayton: Early Bicycles, 1986

Boneshaker: No. 56, 1969

Andrew Ritchie: King Of The Road, 1975

John Woodforde: The Story Of The Bicycle, 1970

Harry Hewitt Griffin: Bicycles & Tricycles Of The Year 1886 (reprint 1971)

Henry Sturmey: Indispensable Handbook To The Safety Bycicles, 1885

Henry Sturmey: Indispensable Bicyclist’s Handbook, 1887

John Pinkerton Memorial Publishing Fund (JPMPF): An Encyclopedia of

Cycle Manufacturers, 2006

Rauck, Volke and Paturi: Mit dem Rad durch zwei Jahrhunderte, 1979

Patent for Inventions, Class 136, Velocipedes,1904

J. T. Allen:Digest of Cycles or Velocipedes with Attachments, Patented

in The United States, from 1789 to 1892, 1892

Musée d´Art et d´Industrie, ville de Saint-Etienne: Le vélocipède, objet

         de modernité 1860-1870, 2008

Claude Reynaud: Le Vélocipéde Illustré …et déjá la bicyclette, 2008

Next machines:

The earliest known machine - Powerhouse Museum Australia

A Kangaroo with the Frame Number (as some others machines) is on the chain and it looks like 17671 - which would make it the earliest known. This machine was discovered for our research by Michael Grützner in 2019. Thank you.

Kangaroo - Powerhouse Museum Australia

Example 1 - Kangaroo H.H.&C. with an open head

a typical characteristic feature in the first phase of production. This machine with production number 21 002 is in the collection of the National Technical Museum in Prague. A place without paint can be seen in the picture on the right, where the strange equation is stamped: 36 = 48. However, this was easily legible for riders and provided information on the gearing of the machine. In this case, the front wheel had a diameter of 36” but, thanks to gears, the whole machine during travel corresponded to the use of a high-wheel bicycle with a 48” front wheel.

Kangaroo - Technic museum Prague

Example 2 - Kangaroo H.H.&C. in a luxurious design

Machine (all nickel-plated) is in the collection of the Deutsches Fahrradmuseum  in Bad Brückenau.

Kangaroo - Bad Bruckenau

Example 3 - Kangaroo H.H.&C. with an open head

Early machine from the musem Nové Hrady in the Czech Republic.

Kangaroo - Nové Hrady

Example 4 - Kangaroo H.H.&C. with an open head

An original machine with new paint in The National Cycle Museum in Llandrindod Wells in Wales.

Kangaroo - Llandrindod Wells

Example 5 - Kangaroo H.H.&C. in original condition

A fantastic machine in the original condition in which it was found. Now in Musée de la Moto et du Vélo, Amnéville les Thermes in France.

Kangaroo - Amnéville les Thermes, France

Example 6 - Kangaroo Hillman, Herbert & Cooper

A machine after late nad not "Top" renovation. Transport museum - Coventry, England.

Kangaroo - Coventry, England

Example 7 - Kangaroo Hillman, Herbert & Cooper

A fantastic machine in original paint including gold badge. Private collection - Germany.

Kangaroo - privat collection, Germany

Example 8 - Kangaroo Hillman, Herbert & Cooper

A machine which was discovered in the Czech Republic a few years ago. Now with some reproduction parts. Privat collection, the Czech Republic.

Kangaroo - privat collection, Czech

Example 9 - Coventry Machinsts Co., Limtd. "Club" Safety Bicycle

A very luxury machine from collection Technischen Museum, Vienna - Austria

Kangaroo - Club Safety

Example 10 - Singer & Co., Coventry, "Safety" Bicycle

A very rare machine in absolutelly original condition. Deutsches museum, München - Germany.

Kangaroo Singer

Example 11 - RUDGE  SAFETY - D. Rudge & Co., Anglie

 A Rudge Safety machine in the original condition is a delight for connoisseurs. The machine does not have a brake and the frame is designed for narrow rims with hard rubber tires with a diameter of 10 – 12 mm. The back fork is narrower and lighter. The blade on the frame does not have an opening for attaching the seat spring. The gear mechanism including the chain is identical with the series tourist machine.The depicted Rudge is in a private museum in the Belgian city of Hanlon.

Kangaroo - Rudge race safety

Example 12 - "Club" Coventry Machinists´ Co., Limited, Cheylesmore, Coventry

The well-constructed model utilized its own Club two-row bearings.During its presence in the market, the C.M.C company manufactured about 50 thousand machines. The numerical serial number series of preserved Club Safeties begins at 1243 and ends at 1893. We conclude from these numbers that the company manufactured these machines in the first years of their existence. The quality of the machine was showed on the exhibition In Marmande (France) on 2011.

Kangaroo - Club – Coventry Machinists´ Co

Example 13 – „Invincible“  Surrey Machinists´ Co., L D., 128 and 129, Great Suffolk Street, Borough, London, S.E.

Bar-le Duc(Tres Fountais), Francie

Kangaroo - Surrey Machinists´ Co.

Example 14 - Měsíček copy, Czech Republic

When we speak of the short period after 1885 when Kangaroo type bicycles were manufactured, this statement must be modified somewhat.After 2000, the Měsíček a synové company prepared and then manufactured a few items that were exact copies of the original Kangaroo machine of H. H. & C. It successful exhibited these machines at several cycling trade fairs in Europe and the U.S.A., where interested persons were found.

Kangaroo - Měsíček

Example 15 - Type Kangaroo, Manufacturer unknown

This machine ex private collection, at the time is exposed in museum cycle factory Batavus in Holland.

Type Kangaroo, Manufacturer unknown 1

Example 16 - Kangaroo H.H.&C. in original condition

A fantastic machine in the original condition in which it was found. Collection in Velorama museum in Holland.

Kangaroo H. H. & C - Velorama

Example 17 – Type Kangaroo, Manufacturer unknown

This machine is exposed in "De Velodroom" in Belgium.

Type Kangaroo, Manufacturer unknown

Example 18 - Express safety

A nice machine J. Davey & Co., Wolverhampton, England. Collection in Velorama museum in Holland.

Kangaroo - Express safety

Example 19 - Kangaroo H.H.&C. in original condition

This machine is exposed in the private museum Fahrrad Museum Stahl-Rad, Rechberghausen in Germany.


Kangaroo - H. H. & C. a later model

Example 20 - Kangaroo H.H.&C. in original condition

A fantastic machine in the original condition in which it was found. This machine was sold 2009 in the Czech Republic.

Kangaroo - rusty machine

Example 21 – Type Kangaroo, Manufacturer unknown

This machine is exposed in the Town museum of Harlow.

Type Kangaroo II, Manufacturer unknown

Example 22 – Type Kangaroo, Manufacturer unknown

This machine is exposed in museum Egeskov – Castle and museums in Denmark.

Type Kangaroo III, Manufacturer unknown

Example 23 - JOHANN JAX safety

Renovation progres safety bicycle for National Technical Museum - in Prague, Czech republic.

Kangaroo - JOHANN JAX safety

Example 24 – Regent Racer

Race model made by Trigwell, Watson and Co., London, circa 1886, display: Oldtimer museum "Rund ums Rad"- Altmünster, Austria

Kangaroo - Regent Racer

Example 25 – CLÉMENT & Cie

CLÉMENT & Cie 1885 from a privat collection. Photos were taken by facebook page of collector Guy Frosio - Bordeaux, France

Kangaroo - CLÉMENT & Cie 1885