John Kemp Starley


Monday 24th December 1855

Born on this day, John Kemp Starley, the inventor of the modern bicycle, and also originator of the name Rover. In 1885 Starley made history when he produced the Rover Safety Bicycle, a rear-wheel-drive, chain-driven cycle with two similar-sized wheels, making it more stable than the previous high wheeler designs. In 1889 the company became J. K. Starley & Co. Ltd and in the late 1890s, it had become the Rover Cycle Company Ltd. Soon after his death the Rover company began building motorcycles and then cars.


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