Saturday, 10 October 2009

Simpson lever chain

The National Cycle museum stand at the Cycle Show was not typical, but it was one of the most interesting and busiest.

The Simpson Lever Chain was invented by William Spears Simpson in 1895.

"The tops of the triangles had cross bars that engaged the perimeter of the rear chain wheel's flange at a much greater distance from the wheel's axis than would an ordinary chain and chain wheel. Thus Simpson could claim that his chain provided more power through greater leverage.

In the fall of 1895, Simpson offered ten-to-one odds that riders with his chain would beat bicyclists with regular chains. Later known as the Chain Matches, these races at the Catford track in London attracted huge crowds estimated between twelve and twenty thousand in June of 1896. Simpson's team not only included the top racers - Tom Linton, Jimmy Michael, and Constant Huret - but also the Gladiator pacing team brought over from Paris. Pacers enabled a racer to ride faster by shielding him from air resistance. Although Simpson won the Chain Matches, they only proved that the Gladiator pacers were superior to their English rivals."

There is more about the Simpson chain here and here. There is a very clear explanation in French here (roughly - "it is composed of a series of triangles. The inner hinges of the chain engage with the gear at the pedals, and the outer ones with the rear wheel").

"If it has merits, now is an appropriate season to consider its possible future influence. If it has none, it will disappear into the limbo of forgotten novelties."

And it did.

No comments: