This Premier Universal has solid front and rear forks. I am not sure how old it is, I originally estimated it 1883-1885 until I got a scan of the 1888 catalogue. This (German) catalogue shows the Universal No. 1 with solid forks and cone bearing on rear wheel. Very old fashioned in 1888, but I guess it was one of the cheapest bicycles of a major maker on the market.
It does not have that much characteristic details. Luckily, the spring tells the story: â€˜Premier Universalâ€™ - alas not visible in the pictures.
This is a beautiful survivor, although someone once spoiled it with a can of black paint and red striping. Might have been the same man who got rid of the braking mechanism. Since racers never had a brake, the would-be sportsmen often removed it. Fantastic original saddle, nice original hubs and spokes.
Like a lot of penny farthings, the backbone is a bit deformed, due to a heavy rider. When it was new, the backbone followed the wheel exactly. Compare it to the brochure!
I made a graphic drawing of HHC / Premier serial numbers, click here.