Wall Art and Photo Gifts from Royal Cornwall Museum
Joseph Tangye (1826-1902) on a velocipede, probably Wolverhampton, West Midlands. Around 1870
The velocipede in the photograph is very similar to the one in the collection of the Royal Cornwall Museum (TRURI : 1937.34). Tangyes Cornwall Works in Birmingham built large numbers of velocipedes, paying a royalty to the French Velocipede Company in order to make the bicycles. The five sons of Joseph Tangye senior, an Illogan miner, commenced their engineering and manufacturing business together in Birmingham in 1856. James (1825-1912), the eldest, was very skilled with the lathe; Joseph (1826-1902) was the creative engineer; Richard (1833-1906) dealt with public relations and sales; George (1835-1920) was the businessman; while Edward (1832-1909), a Quaker, soon left to found his own business. Velocipedes, also known as Boneshakers, due to their iron tyres, were one of the many things that were manufactured at the Cornwall Works. The business also provided the hydraulic rams required to launch the Great Eastern, Brunels ill-fated steel ship in 1857-1858, and to raise Cleopatras Needle to its present position on the London Embankment in 1878. The first direct-acting steam pumps in Europe were made at the Cornwall Works in 1867 and the firm produced James Tangyes horizontal steam engines from 1869. By 1876 the firm employed 1300 workers. The Tangyes were also philanthropists and from 1880 were founders and major benefactors of the Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum and the Birmingham School of Art. Photographer: Edward Hill, 39, Darlington Street, Wolverhampton
TRURI : TTbcc.2
Media ID 18391513
© From the collection of the RIC
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