Showing posts with label 1890s. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1890s. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Seattle PI Newspaper and Cycling in 1897

Newspaper sponsored cyclists riding from Seattle to SF

Newspaper sponsored cyclists riding from Seattle to SF

The Page devoted to cyclist interests in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of 1897. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for 16 May 1897.

According to Biking Puget Sound (2nd edition) by Bill Thorness published in 2014 Seattle in 1900 had 55,000 residents and these 55,000 had 10,000 bicycles. Pretty impressive!

In looking at Seattle papers online, I see evidence of the interest in cycling with occasional full page coverage of the subject.

Here is the article's text:
SEATTLE TO SAN FRANCISCO

Arthur W. Whaliey, W. W. Ewing and Arnet Johnson, three well-known Seattle athletes, are now on their way to San Francisco by the pedal route. They left the city Friday afternoon at 2:45 o'clock on the steamer Flyer and commenced their long ride from Tacoma, intending to follow the telephone line to Portland. After leaving Portland the stumbling block will the Siskiyou mountains, but as their trip is not made on a wager or for the specific purpose of breaking down their constitutions by overexertion, they may be able to ride over the difficulties.

Prior to the completion of arrangements for the trip it was mutually understood that it was merely a pleasure jaunt, to end at San Francisco, providing the roads were !n good condition, and the riders did not play out. If the journey proves too hard a strain on one or all of them, they will take the first train and ride the remainder of the way, free from the companionship of the first relay of tramps.

The riders have followed the common-sense plan of reduicing the weight to be carried to the minimum. Every article that Is not absolutely necessary to their welfare has been discarded. In fact, the only supernumerary is a kodiak. which might be called a necessity tn this latter part of the nineteenth century.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

What Does a Woman's "Bicycle Suit" Cost? (1897, NYC)

A Gorgeous Cycling Suit to Cost $715 (1897)
New York journal and advertiser, May 16, 1897

The New York Journal was for its time a newspaper with many pages to fill, and it often did so at this time with human interest stories of various kinds about cycling as well as "high society" - this example of an article that took up a half page with its illustration combines both.
A Gorgeous Cycling Suit to Cost $715

The most expensive bicycle suit on record has Just been ordered at one of the swellest tailors in New York.

The girl who meets the bill is worth a million in her own right, is an athletic beauty and a reigning belle in the ultra-smart set.

The suit which makes the bill is the most elaborate ever designed in this country. It is lined with silk, finished with Jewels, and will cost a lump sum of $715.50.

Two "Scott and Adie" shawls at $75 apiece will be employed in making the skirt and jacket. And, by the way, these English shawls are the very latest thing: for any sort of fancy outing suit.

The skirt will be stitched half way to the knees, with the lines of stitching not over a sixteenth of an inch apart: this is the new device to stiffen the lower part of the skirt without adding to the weight.

The edges of the jacket are also stitched and, together with the skirt, is elaborately braided, which latter touch adds some $25 to the expense.

Bloomers and linings of suit throughout will be of silk.not less than sixteen yards of silk to be used, which gives another item of 522.50. With the bloomers have been ordered a half dozen interlining of the finest fawn, at 52.50 a pair.

Loose Jackets are no longer the correct thing for the crack bicyclist. The newest waist is tight-fitting always, and worn with a series of vests and shirt fronts.

It sounds very simple just to say, "I shall order at least three vests for my new bicycle suit," doesn't It? Well, that Is what the "millionairess" in question did, and these three vests are going to cost her 525 apiece. The principal question color in her suit is green, so she has ordered one vest of sage green, one of geranium red, embroidered in black and gold, and one of white broadcloth, in silver. With these vests she will wear snow-white linen shirt embroidered fronts and black satin ties.

And $25 is not so very extravagant for a vest when you stop to consider that the garment is made when the material is wet and was to be moulded to the figure.

A Panama straw hat, fawn color and trimmed with scarlet and green, will add one $10 Item, and bicycle boots of finest leather will add another of $18. Golf stockings in mixed greens and tans will be worn In place of the high top boot. An entire box of these stockings have been ordered, as it is difficult to match them exactly. Fifteen dollars a half dozen will buy the softest and best in the shops.

But the crowning extravagance of this particular "biking" maid is yet to come. Her belt of elephant green leather is clasped with a buckle of oxidized silver set with emeralds. The buckle is in the form of two bicycle wheels; the rim of each wheel is bordered with small green stones, a single large emerald forming the hub. This trifling decoration to adorn the "slender waist" of the pretty wheelwomen will cost treble the price of her wheel! that is to say, exactly $300.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Mile-a-MInute Murphy and the Need for Speed (1899)

Mile-a-Minute Murphy article (1899)
New York journal and advertiser, June 22, 1899

This June 22 1899 issue of The New York Journal has a front page article about Charles Minthorn Murphy's attempt to cover a mile in a minute, drafting behind a train, including the "instantaneous photograph taken for The Journal" shown above. Riding on boards laid down over several miles of railroad ties between the tracks, this is one of the more extreme daredevil endeavors imaginable with a basic single-speed track bicycle. Whether Murphy was simply crazy or extremely brave or both is hard to say.

Wikipedia has a detailed description of his attempt to cover a mile in 60 seconds or less in this way. He didn't quite make it on June 21 1899 when he made the attempt documented in the above article and photograph. According to the article, he had plans to try again and expected to do a mile in 50 seconds, but there is no record that in fact he did try again - this one attempt was apparently close enough.

Murphy -- Police Monoplane  (LOC)
Murphy in later years a the first policeman to chase criminals in an airplane

According to Wikipedia, Murphy later was a motorcycle police officer; unfortunately he had several accidents and the last one led to his retirement. Nevertheless he lived 80 years despite his early propensity for rather risky activities.

Interestingly Wikipedia uses the public domain photo of Murphy in his police airplane shown above; apparently there is no good quality public domain version of a photograph of Murphy as shown in the newspaper available.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Overman Wheel Co. Victor Bicycle Lithograph

Victor bicycles, Overman Wheel Company, Boston, New York, ...
Three women on bicycles

Will H Bradley was the American illustrator who did this, which was to be included in an issue of Harper's Magazine. Published in 1895, this is just before the height of the "bicycle craze" of the 1890s.

This is an for the Overman Wheel Company and their Victor bicycles.

www.loc.gov/item/2002721219/

Title-Victor bicycles, Overman Wheel Company, Boston, New York, ... / Will H. Bradley
Summary-Three women on bicycles.
Created / Published-1895.
Notes
- Lithograph printed by Harper & Brothers, New York.
- Reverse: cover by M. Parrish for Harper's Weekly, Christmas, 1895 [can't see since encapsulated with backing sheet].
- Promotional goal: US. D41. 1895; US. K22. 1895.
- This record contains unverified, old data from caption card.
Medium-1 print (poster) : color.
Call Number/Physical Location-POS - US .B732, no. 25 (B size) [P&P]
Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA>
Digital Id-cph 3b49660 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b49660; cph 3a17246 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a17246; cph 3a29202 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a29202
Library of Congress Control Number-2002721219
Online Format-image
Description-1 print (poster) : color. | Three women on bicycles.
LCCN Permalink-lccn.loc.gov/2002721219

Victor Bicycles Poster,1896
This poster, also be Bradley for Overman, is probably better known.
Title: Victor Bicycles Overman Wheel Co. / / Bradley.
Creator(s): Bradley, Will, 1868-1962, artist
Date Created/Published: Boston : Forbes Co., [1896]
Medium: 1 print (poster) : lithograph, color.
Summary: Poster advertisement for Overman Wheel Company's Victor bicycles, showing a woman watching another woman riding a bicycle. Includes art nouveau style flowers.

OOPS! I eventually realized that I blogged separately about these two different items some years ago. Here, however I consolidated the information. And expanded it, slightly. Oh well!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving and Bicycle Repairs (1897)

1897 Thanksgiving-Bicycle Comment
New York journal and advertiser, November 21, 1897

This is at the end of the 1890s "bicycle craze" in the United States and offers a sense that bicycles required paid upkeep. This appeared on a page of what were apparently intended to be humorous Thanksgiving anecdotes.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Paris Poster Featuring Cyclist-Photographer

Première Exposition Internationale de Photographie (poster)
Note the camera attached to the handlebars

Title-Première Exposition Internationale de Photographie
Summary-Woman riding a bike with a camera on the handle-bars.
Created / Published-1892.
Notes
- Color lithograph by Affiches-Camis.
- Promotional goal: Fr. K94. 1892.
- Exchange, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
- This record contains unverified, old data from caption card.
- Caption card tracings: 1. Photographers 1892. I. Title. II. 1892.
Medium-1 print (poster) : color ; 130 x 100 cm.
Call Number/Physical Location POS - Fr .A48, no. 1 (D size) [P&P]
Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Digital Id-cph 3b49687 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b49687
Library of Congress Control Number 2002721228
Reproduction Number-LC-USZC2-1787 (color film copy slide)
Online Format-image
Description-1 print (poster) : color ; 130 x 100 cm. | Woman riding a bike with a camera on the handle-bars. LCCN Permalink lccn.loc.gov/2002721228

www.loc.gov/item/2002721228/

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

"What Happened?" Bicycle Illustration 1897

1897 bicycle illustration "What Happened?"
Found on the Library of Congress web site - https://www.loc.gov/item/2010715933/
Title-What happened?
Contributor Names-Frost, A. B. (Arthur Burdett), 1851-1928, artist
Created / Published-[1897?]
Subject Headings
- Bicycles & tricycles
- Men
- Traffic accidents
Format Headings-Drawings.
Periodical illustrations.
Notes
- (DLC/PP-1934:0009).
- Forms part of: Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress).
- Published as cover of: Harper's weekly, 41:1093 (Nov. 6, 1897).
Medium-1 drawing : wash.
Call Number/Physical Location-CAI - Frost, no. 47 (C size) [P&P]
Source Collection-Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress)
Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id
cai 2a12589 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cai.2a12589
cph 3c38124 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c38124
Note: digital file from intermediary roll film copy

The digitized version is not of very high quality since it was digitized from a photographic reproduction of the original item. That is why it has the color bar and rulers.

1897 bicycle illustration "What Happened?" detail
Detail from the above illustration

Above is a zoomed in view of the bicycle taken from the TIFF image - the level of detail, because this is digitized from a reproduction and not the original illustration, is not particularly good but at least provides enough to show that the person doing the illustration captured accurately the details of an 1897 bicycle.

You can tell it is a "fixie" as it would be called today - that is, the chain drive doesn't spin freely when the rider is not pedaling, the pedals move in concert with the back wheel. The easiest way to slow down or stop was simply to slow down or stop pedaling. This bike has a small post on either side of the front fork that stick out so that a rider could remove his feet from the pedals and rest them on the fork to allow the pedals (and rear wheel) to spin freely while descending hills - getting the feet back onto the pedals was tricky, but this bike also came equipped with a simple "spoon brake" that is visible - that is, a levered brake actuated by the right hand that pressed a post downward to the front tire, pressing a block of some material (perhaps also covered in rubber) against the tire to slow the bicycle. This can be a moderately effective braking system but if used frequently it was hard on the front tire. Certainly it was better than nothing! (And such brakes are still in use on bikes in many parts of the world.)

Another detail provided is the bicycle saddle - a non-standard bicycle saddle was a common aftermarket upgrade for bicycles in those days. Here the saddle is split in the middle, apparently to provide more comfort (or something). Such bicycle saddles remind me of the slotted McClellan saddle for riding horses used by the military that have a slot down the middle. As a teenager I occasionally rode a horse using such a saddle and didn't find it very comfortable, but the slotted nature of a bicycle saddle is less rigid and usually comfortable enough. Still, I don't have a good association with slotted bicycle saddles.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Women Bicycle Racers of 1898

Women Seven Day Racers, NYC, 1898
"Young women who will strip for the seven days bicycle race championship" - click through to Flickr to zoom

From the New York Journal and Advertiser, November 13, 1898, photographic supplement.
www.loc.gov/resource/sn83030180/1898-11-13/ed-1/?sp=15

Riders identified are Tillie Anderson (who today seems the best known of these riders, with an entry in wikipedia), Clara Drehmel, Lissette (last name not given, identified as "Mlle. Lissette" who was a French rider), Lizzie Claw.

This newspaper often tried to appeal to what one could consider a prurient interest - here, the notion of the women racers "stripping" in order to race (which is demonstrated in a sequence of photos on the page).

Simpson Chain with two women riders 1896
Lissette shown in mid-1890s photo from France

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Roosevelt (or Two) on a Bike

Archie Roosevelt on Bicycle at White House
Archie Roosevelt, son of the then-president, Theodore Roosevelt, on a bicycle at the White House. The bike is too large for him.

Title-Archie Roosevelt on a bicycle
Contributor Names-Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer
Created / Published-c1902 June 17.
Format Headings
Photographic prints--1900-1910.
Portrait photographs--1900-1910.
Notes
- H19130 U.S. Copyright Office.
- Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item.
- Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection (Library of Congress).
- Formerly in LOT 4273.
- Multiple copies of print found.
Medium-1 photographic print.
Source Collection-Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952. Portraits
Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Digital Id-cph 3a19334 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a19334
Reproduction Number-LC-USZ62-17136 (b&w film copy neg.)
Rights Advisory-No known restrictions on publication.
LCCN Permalink-https://lccn.loc.gov/2001703918



Something completely different

The Nationals' Ball Park has a "Presidents' Race" of the racing presidents that includes Teddy Roosevelt - who never won a race until 2012. Here the presidents raced using local Capital Bikeshare bikes.

Johnston With Bike
The portrait of Archie Roosevelt was taken by this photographer, who posed dressed in a man in this self-portrait with a high-wheel bicycle

Title-[Frances Benjamin Johnston, full-length self-portrait dressed as a man with false moustache, posed with bicycle, facing left]
Contributor Name-Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer
Created / Published-[between 1890 and 1900]
Subject Headings
- Johnston, Frances Benjamin,--1864-1952
- Cross dressing--1890-1900
- Bicycles--1890-1900
Format Headings
Albumen prints--1890-1900.
Portrait photographs--1890-1900.
Self-portraits--1890-1900.
Notes
- Title devised by Library staff.
- Forms part of: Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection (Library of Congress).
- Exhibited: "Who's Afraid of Women Photographers?" at the Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France, Oct. 2015-Jan. 2016.
Medium-1 photographic print mounted on layered paper board : albumen ; photo 20.9 x 14.9 cm, on mount 25.3 x 20.3 cm.
Call Number/Physical Location-LOT 11734-3 [item] [P&P]
Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Digital Id-ppmsc 04884 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsc.04884
cph 3b29741 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b29741
Library of Congress Control Number
2001697163
Reproduction Number
LC-DIG-ppmsc-04884 (digital file from original) LC-USZ62-83111 (b&w film copy neg.)
Rights Advisory
No known restrictions on publication.
LCCN Permalink
https://lccn.loc.gov/2001697163

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The President Gets the Credit (1897)

Puck Magazine - McKinley provides cheap bikes

Title-He did it all / F. Opper. From Puck Magazine

Summary-Print shows a vignette cartoon with President McKinley standing at center holding a hat labeled "Inexhaustible Prosperity Hat" and a magic wand, behind him are "Joshua" and "Moses" who has beams of light emanating from his forehead; surrounding McKinley are vignettes showing the wonderful tricks he has managed to conjur since taking office, these include friendly relations between the "Prince of Wales" and "rich Americans", the "Klondike boom" gold rush in the Klondike River Valley, Yukon, an "alliance between France and Russia", the decrease in the cost of bicycles bringing them into the price range of mostly everyone, and a good year for farm produce and high wheat prices which are a boom to the farmer.

Contributor Names-Opper, Frederick Burr, 1857-1937, artist

Created / Published-N.Y. : Published by Keppler & Schwarzmann, 1897 October 6.

https://www.loc.gov/resource/ppmsca.28742/

Puck Magazine - McKinley provides cheap bikes

Full two page illustration in magazine

Apparently President McKinley earned credit for some things that Puck Magazine considered unreasonable, including the decline in the prices charged for bicycles. "The price of bicycles has been reduced, and President McKinley did it, of course."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

After the [Bicycle] Ride (1897)

After the [Bicycle] Ride-1897
After the Ride

Title: After the ride
Creator(s): Harmon, F. T., copyright claimant
Date Created/Published: c1897.
Medium: 1 photographic print.
Summary: Photograph shows man drinking from a glass and holding a piece of cake while sitting on door of icebox; bicycle at left.
Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-11780 (b&w film copy neg.)
Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
Call Number: SSF - Interiors -- Kitchens -- 1897 [item] [P&P]
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Notes:
Title from item.
Subjects:
Kitchens--1890-1900.
Eating & drinking--1890-1900.
Refrigerators--1890-1900.

www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2012647910/

Somewhat oddly, the subject headings don't include anything about the bicycle, but at least the bicycle is mentioned in the "summary" - "bicycle at left."

Apparently the cyclist shown was wanting some refreshment after an early "tweed ride" (or "tweed run" - where today cyclists dress up to evoke early cyclists and their attire).

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"Paying for his Fun" - Bike Repairs

Pays for Fun
Title: Paying for his fun

Summary-Man working on bicycle wheel.
Created / Published- [between 1890 and 1899]
Subject Headings
- Bicycles & tricycles--1890-1900
- Wheels--1890-1900
- Cleaning--1890-1900
Format Headings-Photographic prints--1890-1900.
Notes-Copyright by F.T. Harmon.
Medium-1 photographic print.
Call Number/Physical Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
www.loc.gov/item/97511391/

It is a somewhat amusing notion reflected in this photograph from the 1890s that the bicycle rider "pays" for his fun - riding the bike - by spending time fixing the bike. Of course in the 1890s bikes were manufactured with lower tolerances and for a given amount of riding I would assume more repairs were required than for a good quality bike made today.

Still, for the most part I find working on my bikes to be relaxing, although I mostly do fairly basic stuff. I don't do anything with bottom brackets, headsets, or truing wheels. (I guess some people might say that doesn't leave much . . . )

Recently I had a little crash - I managed to end up with both the front and rear wheels out of true on the bike I was riding. I noticed the problem with the rear wheel immediately and got it fixed but it took me a while to realize the front wheel was a bit off - then I had it fixed also.

For me, paying someone to do certain repairs is better than the aggravation/frustration of trying to do it myself without having the right tools or much experience. I'm quite lucky since there is a shop about a mile away, Spokes Etc, where there is a dedicated wheel builder and "wheel mechanic", Bill Mould, who for 20 dollars will correct any true a wheel, putting in in one plane but also making sure it is still round.



Saturday, October 29, 2016

Predicting Women's Attire After Bloomers Take Hold (1895)

"The Bicycle Dress" 1895
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016014/1895-08-16/ed-1/seq-8/

The Topeka State Journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 16 Aug. 1895. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

An illustration in a newspaper in 1895 shows what the future of women's bloomers may be into the 20th century (which then wasn't very far away).

Further down on the page, there is this short article (or more like collection of mostly snarky and contradictory observations):
FAIR DEVOTEES OF CYCLING

Fate has decreed that the bicycle girl in bloomers shall become a spinster, observes the Salt Lake Tribune.

The bloomer gives to a shapely women says the Galveston News, a great opportunity; in fact, two of them.

A Boston girl started on a trip around the globe and before she had gone 1,200 miles she received 85 proposals, she says.

If "equal rights" means anything, it means a man's right to keep out of the way of a woman who is just learning to ride says the New York Mail and Express.

Chief Badenoch of Chicago punishes rowdies who assault women in bloomers. He shows gentlemanly instinct. The question of what is a proper costume for a woman is not to be settled by rowdies on the street.

The women of Osnaburg, O., set their dogs on a Canton wheelwoman because she wore bloomers, says the Cleveland World. The women of a Connecticut town about 40 years ago gave one of their sex an order to leave town when she put on the first hoopskirt they ever saw. In six months they were all wearing them.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Washington Boy Shows Joy of Cycling

Boy on Bicycle (in Washington DC, 1890s)

Digitized image from a glass plate negative that shows some degradation. It was likely taken at a studio in the late 1890s. The descriptive record does not have an exact date. Studios sometimes had a bicycle and subjects would be posed sitting on a bike that belonged to the studio, but this I think this may have been the boy's bike - you wouldn't think a studio bike would have a headlight, and the front tire is quite dirty. But that's just a guess. He looks quite happy!

www.loc.gov/item/2016713286/

Title-Boy on bicycle
Contributor Names-C.M. Bell (Firm : Washington, D.C.), photographer
Created / Published-[between 1873 and ca. 1916]
Format Headings
Glass negatives.
Portrait photographs.
Genre
Portrait photographs
Glass negatives
Notes
- Title is unverified name of sitter or person who ordered the photograph, from handwritten label on negative sleeve or negative.
- Date based on span of years of C.M. Bell Collection.
- Negative number assigned by Library.
- Gift; American Genetic Association, 1975.
- General information about the C.M. Bell Collection is available at hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.bellcm
- Temp note: Batch 55.
Medium-1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in.
Source Collection-C.M. Bell Studio Collection (Library of Congress)
Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Folding Bikes Now and Then

citizen bike
My new cycling acquisition (a gift at no cost)

The folding bike has been around longer than you might think . . . . .

Folding Bicycle 1895
St. Paul daily globe. (Saint Paul, Minn.), 30 June 1895. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90059522/1895-06-30/ed-1/seq-16/

FOLDING BICYCLE
It May Be Doubled Up So As To Occupy Half Its Ordinary Space

Bicycle inventors come thick and fast. American inventive genius apparently has concentrated upon the wheel. Every week some inventor comes forward with some new device designed to make cycling easier or safer or faster or to make a wheel lighter. In France, however, the inventors. are experimenting with petroleum-driven bicyclettes. Why petroleum is better than the human leg, and why the "machine should be dubbed bicyclette are questions only a plausible Frenchman can answer. The petroleum bicyclette participated in the recent road race between Paris and Bordeaux. It gave a good account of itself.

A folding bicycle is, the newest novelty in the steel steed line. By a simple and ingenious arrangement the connecting rods of the frame may be folded until the machine is reduced to the size of one wheel, as shown in the illustration.

The inventor claims for the folding bicycle the possibility of storing it in one's room, the ease with which it may be carried up or down stairs or hoisted in dumbwaiters or elevators. It can be readily, doubled up for carrying on the shoulder up and down bad roads. Such a bicycle can be readily placed in a carriage or other vehicle for transportation. Doubtless, also, the policeman who has had an experience in leading the bicycle of a prisoner to the stationhouse will appreciate the merits a machine that can be folded up and carried under the arm, where it is powerless to work injury.

The inventor claims further that in its folded shape, the bicycle may be securely locked, but seems to forget that in its portable shape it presents an extraordinary inducement to the intending thief.

The folding bicycle is one of the things that, now that it has been invented, will cause people to wonder why it had not been thought of before. Dwellers in flats, however, where there are tenants given to storing their wheels in the lower hallway will be inclined to send their personal thanks to the genius who has shown how the most unwieldy thing ever invented - that is, while in state of repose — may be made less obtrusive and less dangerous. There is no reason why it shouldn't be hung up on a peg out of everybody's way.

The man who invented the baby carriage which could be flattened out and jerked under the bed or stool against the wall behind a sofa worked a great benefaction. It was the best thing since the jointed fishing rod. Then a Brooklyn man invented a piano which could be readily be taken apart and carried up the narrow stairways of an apartment house and, then set up in a little room, instead of being swung into an outside window, as a safe is generally put into an office building. But there are more bicycles than there are either baby carriages or pianos in New York, so for the present the inventor of the folding, bicycle is entitled to a seat on the right side of the throne.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Women as Early Bike Commuters

I copied a long first person description of the work of a NYC "bike cop" from 1896 into a blog post, Adventures of NYC "Bike Cop" of 1896.

Towards the end, there is this paragraph:

Teamsters [here meaning the drivers of horse-drawn wagons, the the-equivalent of trucks] make most of our trouble. The manner In which heavy trucks and freight wagons of all kinds swarm to the Boulevard in the morning hours, when there are thousands of cyclists, four out of five of whom are ladies, is most exasperating. On Sunday, when the asphalt is covered with wheel riders, what satisfaction can there be in driving a carriage or buggy into their midst? It looks like sheer contrariness. The hostility shown by many truck and wagon drivers against cyclists is of that mean nature that is found in envy of those who seem to be getting some pleasure out of life.

While the "four out of five" is not a scientific survey, it suggests many women in 1896 were commuting to work by bicycle, since it is doubtful they were out on weekday mornings for some other reason.



This 1899 film of employees leaving a Parke Davis factory in Detroit suggests also that women were bicycle commuters in those pre-automobile days. Presumably most of the manufacturing employees were men and the women in this video (given their attire) were the clerical staff? So their percentage of the total number of commuters is likely relative to their percentage of the number of workers there overall.

Monday, July 4, 2016

To Enjoy the 4th of July - a New Bike! (1897 Ad)

To enjoy the 4th of July - a bike! (1897)

From The Evening Times newspaper. (Washington, D.C.), 03 July 1897. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024441/1897-07-03/ed-...
To Enjoy the 4th of July
See that your outfit is complete. It is immaterial what your sport or pastime is, you will find something that will be invaluable to you in our monster Fourth of July and Vacation Sale that will commence today.

BICYCLES. We are offering the best Bicycle bargain of the year, new 1896 Spalding Bicycles, fitted with 1897 tires and 1897 Christy saddles, at $50 for men's and $60 for women's models. We will attach to the 1896 Spalding the Hygienic Cushion Frame device, which makes riding over all kinds of roads a pleasure, for $10 extra. We have a few 1897 Tandems left at $50 each, sold for cash only, fully guaranteed by the maker, and it is a genuine bargain.

BICYCLE CLOTHING. We are offering exceptionally fine values today in complete Bicycle Golf Suits-just the kind to knock about in for cycling, seashore, or mountain. The fact that we manufacture all our own clothing makes it possible for us to offer you better bargains than anyone else.

BICYCLE SUNDRIES We are headquarters for Bicycle Sundries. Have everything required by the cyclist. The famous Christy Anatomical Saddle will make your vacation trip a pleasure if you are going riding. See that your bicycle is fitted with one.

A.G. SPALDING & BROS.,
1013 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

July 4th - Let's Sell More Bikes

The holiday themed advertising campaign is an American tradition - here is an example from a little over a hundred years for a July 4th bike sale:

July 4th Bike Sale 1913

From The Pioneer Express newspaper. (Pembina, Dakota [N.D.]), 27 June 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88076741/1913-06-27/ed-...

The marketing approach in the ad's text is amusing (or something) suggesting immediately the second class nature of cyclists to motorists by this time (1913):
We are giving away an electric automobile horn to the best decorated automobile in the proce ion on July 4th, but thee are no prizes to bicycle riders. So I have concluded to donate to new riders handsome presents in the prices of new wheels. . . . We have a shipment of new, standard bicycles which will be on sale July 4th, while they last at twenty per cent off the regular price. This includes the regular $22, $25, $30 and $35 kind, from the single tube to Dunlop and G. & J. tires and coaster break [i.e., brake]. We have seven new bicycles to dispose of at these prices, and no more, and they will be sold for cash only.
Probably seven bicycles for sale in 1913 was quite a few in 1913 in North Dakota. ?

With no connection to the previous other than that it was published in a digitized newspaper, here is an Uncle Sam graphic with him riding a bicycle to celebrate the Fourth of July:

Uncle Sam on a bicycle for July 4th

From the Willmar Tribune newspaper. (Willmar, Minn.), 29 June 1897. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89081022/1897-06-29/ed-...

It would seem this was originally published in the St. Louis Chronicle but was republished in this Minnesota paper.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Official Handbook [of 1890] of the League of American Wheelmen



Official hand-book / League of American Wheelmen
Published in New York City in 1890. From the collections of the Library of Congress.

Explanation of the contents on the title page:
COMPLETE LIST OF LOCAL CONSULS, LEAGUE HOTELS AND RATES, AND REPAIR SHOPS IN THE UNITED STATES; THE POLICY OF THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT FOR 1890; SYNOPSIS OF STATE LAWS REGARDING WHEELMEN; THE L. A. W. CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS; RACING RECORDS, REGISTER OF BICYCLE CLUBS IN THE COUNTRY, NAMES OF OFFICERS AND NUMBER OF MEMBERS; ARTICLES ON THE ROAD QUESTION; TOURING, ETC.

In my previous blog post I linked to a book "Tourists' Manual and Book of Information of Value to all Bicyclers" published in 1892, two years after this time. The illustrations of the two books show the evolution during this brief period so that by 1892 a "safety bicycle" already looked much like a modern bicycle, as opposed to the safety bicycles of 1890, which look a little odd or strange by comparison.


Bicycle design is still evolving towards what we would recognize as "modern" in 1890

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Presidential Candidates Seeking Cyclist Vote - 1895

PuckPresidentialBikes
Illustration from Puck [magazine], v. 37, no. 953, (1895 June 12), centerfold - click on image for a more detailed view

Title: Presidential aspirants take to the wheel! / C.J. Taylor.
Summary: Print shows the interior of the "Bicycle - Academy" which offers "Special Facilities for Presidential Candidates", and trying out bicycles are several candidates labeled "Harrison, Sherman, Allison, Morton, Tom Reed, McKinley, Stewart, [Hill], Flower, Cullom, [and] Peffer". Morton rides a motorized bicycle, Allison rides a tricycle, Flower has put his head through the front spokes, Stewart hangs onto a column, McKinley appears to be hanging onto Reed, and Hill's tires are leaking air. On the wall is a poster for an "1896 Scorcher".
Contributor Names: Taylor, Charles Jay, 1855-1929, artist
Created / Published: N.Y. : Published by Keppler & Schwarzmann, 1895 June 12.

Presidential aspirants take to the wheel! The bicycle vote has got to be catered to, and the best wheelman will make the best run.

At this point, the bicycle craze of the 1890s was building up - many cyclists went to indoor training programs to learn how to ride. Here, the presidential candidates are depicted learning how to ride in order to get the "wheelman" (cyclist) vote. Surprising number of candidates, although compared to what we have been through now . . .

Of course, at this point there were zero automobiles.

Also, looking at these presidential candidate names - Harrison, Sherman, Allison, Morton, Tom Reed, McKinley, Stewart, [Hill], Flower, Cullom, Peffer - most are completely unfamiliar a little over one hundred years later.