Showing posts with label newpaper articles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label newpaper articles. Show all posts

Monday, June 19, 2017

Washington Post "Bicentennial of the Bicycle" piece

Washington Post short visual feature covering the highlights of the 200 year history of the bicycle.

The presentation in the print edition of the Post was a little more easy to digest than the online version - online the "trends" that are to the right are more difficult to connect with the "turning points" that are to the left (assuming I am understanding the approach correctly).

It may or may not be that the people who prepared this knew much about the subject, but the emphasis on "firsts" means that the main trends are obscured. The Rover of 1885 is not that significant itself but rather as an early example of a bike that is more recognizably similar to a modern bicycle and the kind of bike that led in the U.S. to what was generally considered a "bicycle craze" in the 1890s. The 1890s bike craze itself is not mentioned. However the authors get it right when they characterize the following decade in the U.S. as "the automobile rises, the bicycle falls." It would have been good to mention however that the League of American Wheelmen along with the bicycle industry of the 1890s pioneered the "good roads" movement that gave way to advocacy for highways and so on for motorists.

The "correct" position for riding
A cyclist and his typical bike of the 1890s that is much similar to a modern bicycle

One of the authors is named Pope but amazingly (or is it ironically) there is no mention of Colonel Albert Pope, the most well known manufacturer of bicycles in the 1890s who then moved on to try to succeed as a maker of automobiles (which didn't go so well). His "Columbia" brand for bicycles in particular still exists; the company claims some derivative connection to the original Pope Manufacturing Company.

Pope Mfg Co booklet back page
An ad in an 1890 booklet for Columbia bicycles manufactured by Pope's company

The most surprising omission is the development of well-organized and reasonably funded bike share systems in North America in the 21st century, following their introduction elsewhere in the world. Washington's Capital Bikeshare is a leader in this area, in fact.

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.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

How Photos and Articles Appeared Across the Nation

Alvey Adee of Dept of State & Bicycle
The original photograph in the Library of Congress collections

The above image of the Department of State official, who happened to be someone who rode to and from work every day on a bicycle.

Adee article example 1
The photograph used in 1914 about Adee's trip to France, published in The Greenville Journal newspaper in July 1914

These kinds of short articles were distributed nationally by different services and often were used to fill up pages with human interest material. In the above version Harris & Ewing (the photography house) was given credit.

Adee article example 2
And the Grand Forks Daily Herald . . .

A rather more cropped version of the photograph and a shorter version of the text, above. They needed to fill up some of the page, but not so much.

Adee article example 3
And the Dakota Farmers Leader

This paper made use of the item as supplied, it would seem, like the first version. The darkness of the photograph in this last example has to do with the quality of the microfilm and (probably) not any real differences in how the photographs would have looked on newsprint.

One sees this sort of thing from time to time in Chronicling America, the searchable database of American newspapers from many states provided by the Library of Congress. Occasionally even involving bicycles!