Collection & Research

Hours and Location

Thomas Kelsey Quadricycle

Thomas Kelsey Quadricycle

Current location:

Collection Storage Facility


This quadricycle was part of a large collection of objects and literature the Museum acquired from collector Lorne Shields in 1982. The collection bears the name Shields.

Technical history:

In the mid-nineteenth century, many builders tried their hand at making a commercially viable cycle. The challenge was to create a vehicle that was sturdy yet light enough for a person to propel. Willard Sawyer of Dover, England, used his fine carpentry skills to craft multi-wheeled vehicles that stood the test of time and use. He constructed his machines entirely of hardwood with forged steel support. For propulsion, he used a treadle and crank system.


Willard Sawyer built and sold various models of quadricycles in the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s. This quadricycle was made by his brother-in-law, Thomas Kelsey, who may have been trained by Sawyer. Kelsey operated a velocipede company in Margate, England, between 1867 and 1874. On this model, he used front-wheel drive with rear-wheel steering, to prevent the cyclist’s legs from interfering with the wheels during turns.

Canada Science and Technology Museum
Artifact No.
Thomas Kelsey
Manufacturer Location
Margate, England
Manufacture Date
Circa 1852
Acquisition Date