Evolution of the internally geared bicycle hub –

1985First epicyclic geared hub is patented for bicycles by Seward Thomas of Noblesville, Indiana.
19862-speed hub was patented by William Reilly of Salford, England. Went
into production in 1898, and successfully produced for about 10 years.
1902Reilly designed a 3-speed hub, and signed the patent rights over to his associate, James Archer.
Henry Sturmey, an English Journalist, also invents a 3-speed hub.
1903Frank Bowden obtains both designs and forms The 3-Speed Gear Group. Reilly's hub went into production as the first Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub.
1904Fichtel & Sachs company, Germany, produce a hub gear under license to the Wanderer bicycle company.
1909There are 14 different 3-speed hubs in production in England.
1930s thru
1960s
Three speed hubs ar being used all over the world, particularly in Europe.
1970sFirst derailleur bikes begin to hit the market. Derailleur systems are cheaper to produce, and have more gearing. Sport and leisure bikes adopt the derailleur system, while many utility bikes in Europe stick with the 3-speed hub.
1980sSturmey-Archer is making 3 and 5 speed hubs, Fichtel & Sach's and Shimano are mking 2 and 3 speed hubs.
1995Sachs introduces the Elan, the first hub with 12 speeds.
1998Rohloff introduces the 14 speed Speedhub 500/14.
2008Sturmey-Archer makes 3-, 5- and 8-speed hubs.
SRAM, previously Fichtel & Sachs makes 3-, 5-, 7- and 9-speed hubs.
Shimano makes 3-, 7- and 8-speed hubs.
2010Shimano introduces the Alfine 700, an 11-speed hub.

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