The Ariel, first sold in 1871, was one of the very first bikes to be called a highwheel. It was introduced in 1871, one of the first Ariels you can see here. Until 1875 it was built by Smith, Starley & Co., after that Haynes & Jefferis (two former foremen of Starley) took up the license. They continued building it for some more years, at least until 1877.
This example in the Velorama museum is from 1875 or 1876 and â€“ as the text on the spring states â€“ built by Haynes & Jefferis. Of course it has, like all bikes in that period, solid forks, plain bearings and a roller brake on the rear wheel. Ariel was the first British factory to introduce a hollow backbone (april 1872) which is also a feature of this ordinary.
The spokes are supposed to be straight, but with an Ariel you can't adjust the spokes individually. This way of bending them is a crude manner of tensioning that you see more on old penny farthings. In 1877 Ariels were built with nipples at the rim, which means each of them was adjustable.