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Museum of Science and Industry

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This high-energy, mischievous show inspires curiosity, drawing out questions about real-life figures and basic engineering concepts and celebrating creativity and invention.

It’s 1885 and the Salford-based inventor, Hans Renold, is working on the invention of his bush roller chain, a device that will change the world. We test inventions in his workshop, learning how to transfer motion and the forces involved.

When Hans is challenged to a Penny Farthing race, he has to work out how to adapt the Penny Farthing to create a new, quicker type of bicycle, with a little help from his friend, the engineer J K Starley, and the children of course. Now, if only we had a chain to link the Penny Farthing’s wheels...

What will they learn?

  • The background to the work of two significant designers and inventors, who together created the world’s first safety bicycle.
  • The different methods used in engineering to transfer motion—cogs, gears, sprockets and chains.
  • The role of Victorian Lancashire as the home of invention, with a wealth of world-changing developments at the heart of the Industrial Revolution.
  • How motion can be reversed, slowed, accelerated and converted from rotary to linear, or vice versa.