Hickling & Co. Penny Farthing c.1885

A narrow rim racing penny. This bike is likely have been made specifically for racing as the introduction of the safety bicycle half a decade earlier rendered penny farthings obsolete for transport and other forms of recreational riding. The narrow rim is of a type that was used for racing pennys. It's racing heritage is also evidenced by the bolt on (as opposed to brazed on) mounting step.
The seat bracket is engraved Hickling & Co, The Pilot Racer,  Maidenhead. The wheel is a “hollow rim” design identified with a small brass plate on the bike rim; Warwicks Patent Hollow Rim No 4957 SEPT 1882.
The Pilot Co. was founded in 1868 by H. J. Timberlake, trading as Timberlake and Co. He introduced a solid rubber tyre secured to the metal rim by a wire running through the centre of the tyre. He also invented the front wheel roller brake, operated by rack and pinion from a twisting handlebar. Later the business was acquired by Hickling and Co, and given by them as security to the rubber manufacturers who made tyres for them. In 1886 the goodwill was purchased by C. J. Reynolds, who carried on the business till 1900, when he closed down.