Showing posts with label posters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label posters. Show all posts

Friday, May 11, 2018

Crawford Bicycles Poster (1896)

Ride a Crawford Bicycle (1896)

Title-Ride a Crawford Bicycle
Summary-Young couple with bicycles pause by side of road.
Created / Published-1896.
- Chromolithograph by Strobridge & Co. Lith., Cincinnati-New York, 211 x 102 cm.
- This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Medium-1 print (poster).
Call Number/Physical Location POS - ADV. 19th c. - Bicycles. S778, no. 7 (in 3 parts) (D size) [P&P]
Repository-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

The summer of 1896 was the height of the "bicycle craze" of the 1890s - a price range of $60 to $75 at that time was fairly good (that is, inexpensive) compared to Columbia bicycles that were offering their most expansive models for $100.

"For Health & Recreation" is an amusing slogan to feature on this poster, given that the couple seems mostly to be enjoying one another's company. Also, the width of the byway upon which they are traveling seems fanciful - not realistic one suspects for the time (or any time, in fact). Still, cyclists were (ahead of motorists, who didn't yet exist!) leaders in the "good roads" movement. Well - some cyclists along with some bicycle manufacturing companies. There had to be some good roads in order for the product to be useful.

Crawford Bicycles Ad 1897

A modest ad for Crawford Bicycles - see how it appeared here: in "Cycling Life," a trade journal. This small ad ran frequently in 1896-1897.

Crawford Bicycles had its factory in nearby Hagerstown MD. (Nearby from the perspective of the Washington DC area.) In 1902 the Crawford brothers sold their bicycle business to a larger bicycle company and proceeded to start up an automobicle manufacturing company, Crawford Automobile.

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.
- 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 //
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

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Some Grim Cyclists From 1896

Donaldson Bicycle Lithos [of 1896]
Title: The Donaldson bicycle lithos for the season of 1896

Creator(s): Donaldson Lith. Co., lithographer
Date Created/Published: Cincinnati : Donaldson Litho Co., [ca. 1896]
Medium: 1 print ; chromolithograph ; 28 9/16 x 42 1/4 in.
Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsca-08976 (digital file from original print)
Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
Call Number: PGA - Donaldson--Donaldson bicycle lithos... (E size) [P&P]
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

This is a poster advertising the lithographic services of the Donaldson Company in 1896. The riders depicted are noteworthy for their grim expressions. Or perhaps just determined.

Some of these sorts of posters on the Library of Congress web site were digitized from film reproductions, not from the original, and the color is often not quite right and they are otherwise not great. Good, but not great. This however was more recently digitized from the original item which is 42+ inches across, so it is a pretty nice digital reproduction. Not so noticeable perhaps from the JPEG I copied from the site, but there is a high resolution TIFF image there you can download if you want (which is 58.7 mb).

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Will Bradley Poster - Three Women on Bicycles

This is a digitized version of a color slide reproducing the original item

Title: Victor bicycles, Overman Wheel Company, Boston, New York, ... / [by] Will H. Bradley
Date Created/Published: 1895.
Medium: 1 print (poster) : color.
Summary: Three women on bicycles.
Reproduction Number: LC-USZC2-1760 (color film copy slide) LC-USZ62-14990 (b&w film copy neg.) LC-USZ62-28424 (b&w film copy neg.)
Rights Advisory: Rights status not evaluated. For general information see "Copyright and Other Restrictions..." (
Call Number: POS - US .B732, no. 25 (B size) [P&P]
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
* 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.
Collections: Posters: Artist Posters
Bookmark This Record:

For some reason this item has not been "evaluated" for its "right status" so the higher resolution images are not generally available for download off site. However obviously 1895 is before 1923.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Columbia Bicycle Posters of 1896

Exhibition of Columbia bicycle art poster designs (1896) - published in support of an exhibition at which hundreds of posters were displayed, some from leading artists of the time.


Our aim is to hold Columbia Bicycle advertising, like Columbia Bicycles themselves, in the foremost position. To this end we have uniformly employed leading artists and designers in the preparation of our advertising matter.

For the coming year we need posters, the better to bring to the attention of the people the delight of riding Columbia Bicycles, and therefore invite designs for these, offering prizes of such value as to stimulate best effort.

The prizes are as follows:

* First prize: One Columbia Bicycle ($100) and $250 in cash
* Second prize: One Columbia Bicycle ($100) and $100 in cash
* Third prize: One Columbia Bicycle ($100) and $50 in cash
* Fourth prize: One Columbia Bicycle ($100)
Maxfield Parrish won first prize - he won 250 dollars "in cash" and he got a free Columbia bicycle (valued at another 100 dollars).

Maxfield Parrish's first prize winning poster

"The result is surprising." — Boston Transcript.

"The finest display of posters that has ever been exhibited." — Boston Journal.

"The finest exhibition from an artistic standpoint. It is a beautiful exhibit, and one that in the study by itself of cycling costumes for women will well repay careful examination." — Boston Globe.

Second prize winner

Honorable mention ~

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bicycle Poster from 1896 / D.C. Bike Theft (Also 1896)

Stormer Bicycle Poster
Stormer bicycle poster from the Library of Congress

"As good as money can buy" - from the Acme Manufacturing Co. of Reading, PA. Stormer is referred to as the "model" name rather than the brand of the bicycle.

Title The Stormer Bicycle Recommends Itself
Date Created/Published Cincinnati & New York : Strobirde & Co. Lith., 1896.
Medium 1 print (poster) : color ; 213 x 102 cm.
Summary Young woman in plaid dress rides a Stormer bicycle.
Reproduction Number LC-USZC2-131 (color film copy slide) LC-USZ62-24633 (b&w film copy neg.)
Call Number POS - ADV. 19th c. - Bicycles. S778, no. 8 (in 3 parts) (D size) [P&P]
Library of Congress

As usual with digitized posters, this was digitized not from the original but from a color transparency (slide) made of the original some years ago. The quality of the digital image, if you look closely, is not great if you wanted to print a version, but otherwise fine.

I don't know why the Library hasn't made the images readily downloadable offsite - the item is clearly labeled as published in 1896. I created this JPEG directly from the TIFF and didn't use the relatively low resolution JPEG provided on site at LC.

I don't find much mention of the Stormer Bicycle in digitized newspapers of the time, although the Washington Times includes one in a weekly list of stolen bicycles from Washington DC (!).
Washington Evening Star, September 19, 1896, Page 18

BICYCLES STOLEN - Theft of Nine Wheels Reported During the Week.

During the week ending yesterday the theft of nine bicycles was reported at the police headquarters. At this rate it would seem as though on an average 500 wheels are made away with by unscrupulous persons a year, and, in spite of the rewards and the efforts of the police, a large percentage are never found. Thieves have found bicycle stealing to be a profitable and easy business, owing to the owners leaving them unguarded and unlocked. It is almost a matter of impossibility for policemen to trace stolen wheels unless the latter posses some marked peculiarities. The victims during the week are:

George D. Harning, Central building, 9th street and Pennsylvania avenue, Fowler bicycle. No. 22951.

Ernest H. Elliot, 145 Q street northwest, Victor bicycle, No. 88679.

Wade Luckett, 66 H street northwest. Telegram bicycle. No. 8753.

Willis A. Madden of Howard University, Stormer bicycle, N. 26278.

Horace H. Brower, 9A 9th street. a Horseman bicycle. No. 3336.

Harry W. Higham, Jr., 476 Pennsylvania Avenue northwest, Wilhelm bicycle. No. 242.

Fred Busch, Florida avenue northwest. Crescent bicycle, No. 188727.

A. G. Randall, 800 A street southeast. Wilhelm bicycle, No. 26771.

Allan Baeschlin, 1826 Half street northwest, Elmore bicycle.

Although it is stated that the bicycles are not easily identified, numbers are given for all but one - are these serial numbers or license numbers? Not sure. I suppose mostly like serial numbers.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Keating Cycles Poster, 1890s

There is no particular reason to blog about this but why not.

Keating Cycles poster, 1890s
From the Library of Congress

Title Keating cycles. 365 days ahead of them all / Keating Wheel Co., Holyoke, Mass.
Date Created/Published Phila. : Ketterlinus, [189-?]
Medium 1 print (poster) : color.
Summary Man on bicycle, and winged woman with wreath alongside him.
Reproduction Number LC-USZC4-3028 (color film copy transparency)
Library of Congress -

As is often the case (if not always) with digitized posters at LC, this is not digitized directly from the poster but rather is digitized from a color transparency (slide) that was produced at some point. So the quality is not as good as it would be if digitized directly from the original with the right device. I have cropped down to the poster, leaving out the color bar that is in the image as provided by LC. Also, the online presentation at LC only provides the thumbnail offsite but since the item is clearly in the public domain I have created a derivative image from the TIFF that is better than a thumbnail (and also better than the two JPEGs available if you were at LC) available if you click on the image above.

I am not that knowledgable about art, but I think this poster is mostly noteworthy for the somewhat risque approach used to sell bicycles with the "winged goddess" in a state of semi-undress. There seems to be something not quite right with the perspective so that it appears her nose is buried in the fellow's armpit. Also, the bike is rendered somewhat oddly, for example the headtube appears to be exceptionally long while the chainring is too small - presumably in error.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

"The Prudent Buyer Selects The Shirk"-1890s Bicycle Poster

I found the poster in the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog - The Prudent buyer selects the Shirk, the latest, neatest, and lightest bicycle in the world - It cures the blues. It saves the shoes. It brings content and merriment.

The full record for it is here.

Cropped Shirk Poster
My cropped version of this poster from the Library of Congress

Even though the Library of Congress has determined with reasonable certainty that this item was published in the 1890s and is well out of U.S. Copyright coverage (that is, before 1923) it is still not made available off the LC campus for some reason (other than a thumbnail). However various businesses that publish reproduction posters have had someone visit the Library in person and copy a high resolution file and although I can't make the 4.5 megabyte tiff available here I can at least provide a better image than the tiny thumbnail gif.

The colors as shown in this image are probably not accurate - below is an uncropped version where you can see a color strip but I can't interpret that since I don't have an original one handy to compare to. The main problem here is that this is a scan of a color slide made of the poster and not a scan of the original poster. In other words, a reproduction of a reproduction. It's better than nothing (much better!) but not as good as it could be.

LC record
Title The Prudent buyer selects the Shirk, the latest, neatest, and lightest bicycle in the world / Ottman, Chic.
Date Created/Published [189-]
Medium 1 print (poster) : color.
Summary Woman riding bicycle.
Reproduction Number LC-USZC4-3017 (color film copy transparency)
Call Number POS - US .O87, no. 1 (B size) [P&P]

One reason I was surprised to find this poster was that it is for a bicycle company I had not heard of before - generally bicycle posters from the 1890s seen now are for companies that were relatively well known then and anyone (like me) reading a bit about cycling in those days would know of them. I had not heard of the "Shirk" bicycle company.

To see if I could find any references to it, I searched The Wheel and Cycling Trade Review volume for 1897 and found passing two mentions of it (in 1,088 pages of text) - one was this somewhat amusing description of a suspicious bicycle sales company, where Shirk appears in a list of bicycle manufacturers of the day available from that dealer.

The New York Cycle Co., of 434 Ninth, don't seem to care to talk very much about where they get their wheels or about their business methods in general. They offer "unredeemed" bicycles at "one-third" value, but just what they mean is past guessing. Among the cycles noted are Columbias, Syracuse, Pacers, Rambler, Spalding, March, Worlds, Flyers, Niagaras, Shirk, Liberty, Victors, etc., men's, women's and children's wheels. They also exchange or buy outright and take wheels for storage. Their advent has caused some under-surface speculation among the "regulars," and their plans are carefully noted, as this is about the first time, so far, that anything of the kind has been observed here.
Full article is available here.

At this distance in time (and given the relatively small amount of research I have done) I can't understand who the main target audience for this bicycle company was - the bicycle is described as the "latest and the neatest and the lightest" - would these have been considered particularly good sales values for women, since the poster features a woman rider? Other than "it saves the shoes" it makes no mention of this particular bicycle being a good value, which was often a theme of bicycle ads at this time. A puzzle.

"The Prudent Buyer selects the Shirk"
Version as presented uncropped by the Library of Congress

Thursday, May 23, 2013

1890s Memorial Day Bicycle Races

In the United States on Monday we have the holiday known as Memorial Day. As explained by Wikipedia, "Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War."

I found the poster below in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (that also has posters ~ ~ ~ ). At the time the poster was created, in the 1890s, the holiday was still known as "Decoration Day."

Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day
Poster for 1890s bicycle race on the holiday now called Memorial Day

LC record for this item
Title Bearing's decoration day cycle races / Charles A. Cox.
Date Created/Published [189-(?)]
Medium 1 print (poster) : color.
Summary Poster showing bicycle racers between ranks of Union soldiers and war veterans.
Reproduction Number LC-USZC4-3037 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-51856 (b&w film copy neg.)
Call Number POS - US .C691, no. 4 (B size) [P&P]
Repository Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Persistent URL

This poster would have been deposited for Copyright protection at the Library of Congress but now is in the public domain. Created by Charles Arthur Cox, it is not clear where this race took place or in what year, other than during the 1890s (most likely the later half of the 1890s).

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Decoration Day holiday was associated with special sporting events such as bicycle races at this time. The Evening Star of Washington DC, for example, reports on preparations for the Decoration Day races for Memorial Day in 1895.

To Be Held Tomorrow Under the Columbia Club Auspices.

It is Expected That the Fastest Time Ever Made in the District Will Be Recorded.

The big Decoration day bicycle race meet held under the auspices of the Columbia Athletic Club will begin tomorrow morning promptly at 10 o'clock on Columbian field. Everything is ready for the occasion, and with hard work and favorable weather the track has been put in first-class condition and it may be put down as an assured fact that the fastest time ever made in the District will be scored tomorrow.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Circuses & Bicycles 1900

Someone at work knows I am interested in historical images of cycling so she emailed me a link the this image in the National Library of Ireland's Flickr area.

Photo from the National Library of Ireland

Title - Mr Minton ? & Mr Lloyds, Circus on spiral rail, circa 1900
Main Author - A. H. Poole Studio Photographer
In Collections - The Poole Photographic Collection
The National Library of Ireland

I have to say, this is not exactly the most impressive feat involving a bicycle, but for a small circus . . . in fact, it would seem like setting up that spiral would have been a lot of work, so one guesses that they did something with it beside have this guy ride the bike up it. And what happens at the top, anyway?

A Library of Congress search for "bicycle" and "circus" brings up mostly posters.

Cropped and rotated image of 1900 circus poster from Library of Congress online presentation

Title: The Adam Forepaugh and Sells Brothers, America's greatest shows consolidated--The miraculous Melrosas
Date Created/Published: Buffalo, N[ew] Y[ork] : Courier Company Lith. Dept., c1900.
Medium: 1 print (poster) : chromolithograph ; 71 x 105 cm.
Summary: Poster showing circus performers riding bicycles on tightropes.
Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-10501 (color film copy transparency)

Most (if not all) of the LC digitized circus posters are like this one, taken from a color negative that was produced before digitization from the original was more commonplace. I rotated the image (deskewed) and took out the color bars. The LC version is here.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Another Shaft-Drive Bike Poster from BnF

In my previous post I wrote about the use of Pinterest to present bicycle posters from the French National Library on Gallica. My example was a poster for a chainless shaft-drive bicycle - I didn't notice that there was another poster in their Pinterest collection that is a shaft-drive bike, and one that shows the shaft-drive aspect better.

Did chains break all that often?

The BnF has posters not just from France but from other European countries on their Pinterest "Velo Board." It appears that the above chainless bicycle was made in Denmark by Nordisk Cyclefabrik - ah the things you can discover with Google. Small print on the poster indicates that while the bicycle was made in Denmark and the poster was likely intended for use in Denmark (since it advertises a Danish location for purchasing the bicycle) the printing was done in Paris - so presumably this is how it got into the BnF, through some sort of copyright-like deposit.

Someone in Denmark created a blog post (in English) describing this Danish chainless bike if one wants to know more.

This poster, as with the other, emphasizes the reliability of a shaft-drive bike over a bike with a chain - that chains break and you can avoid that with a shaft drive. It may have been that manufacturing practices at the time produced chains that were less reliable than today - other than bikes from box stores, I think most chains are pretty reliable nowadays (unless abused). Modern attempts to market chainless bikes have focused more on their being cleaner and easier to maintain, particularly for belt-drive systems combined with an internal hub gear system.

The one somewhat fanciful aspect to this poster is the effortless way the rider is proceeding up what looks to be a reasonably steep hill - this shaft-drive bike is still a single speed bicycle and riding up a hill while seated would generally require a fair application of effort. (While I have seen many photos and images of both men and women in the 1890s bent over their bicycles to ride quickly in so-called "scorcher" position, I have never seen a photo where the rider has stood out of the saddle to ride up a hill.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chainless Bike Poster from BnF via Pinterest

The National Library of France Gallica digital library now has a Pinterest account that includes a set of bicycle posters.

One of the posters from Gallica's Pinterest selection

This poster for a chainless bike; that is, for a bike using a shaft drive rather than a chain, is less detailed than most bicycle posters that show the bicycle accurately. This appears to have the shaft drive on the left side of the bike, but typically it was put on the right side - the same side where a chain would run.

While there are still occasional efforts to revive shaft drive systems for bicycles today, they aren't very successful. More successful has been the effort to adapt disk brakes for road racing bikes - I was interested to see Leonard Zinn "throw some ice water" (as he put it) on this notion in his column today. My own experience with Avid cable-actuated disk brakes on a road bike (although not for racing) has been that they are more maintenance headache than they are worth.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Nice 1891 Paris Poster

L'Etendard français, bicyclettes et tricycles
From the Library of Congress

Title: L'Etendard français, bicyclettes et tricycles / J. Chéret, 91.
Creator(s): Chéret, Jules, 1836-1932, artist
Date Created/Published: Paris : Imp. Chaix (Ateliers Chéret), 20, rue Bergére, 1891
Medium: 1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 123 x 88 cm.
Summary: Poster showing a woman riding a bicycle, carrying a tri-color pennant.
Library of Congress

Many such posters include a fair amount of accurate detail of the bicycle but this on is more impressionistic.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

French Chainless Bike, 1890s Poster

My terrible effort pasting together two halves of a scanned poster

Another follow-up on the shaft drive bike-share bikes in Los Angeles - they have been around forever, so if there was something so great about shaft-drive bikes, we'd have a few more being made today.

This poster is for a French bike from the late 1890s and pushes the chainless aspect - it isn't so much pro-shaft drive as anti-chain.

Title: Acatène Velleda / / L. Baylac, Biarritz '98.
Creator(s): Baylac, Lucien, 1851-1913, artist
Date Created/Published: Paris : Imp. Kossuth & Cie., 1898.
Medium: 1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 156 x 118 cm.
Summary: Advertising poster for the chainless Acatène Metropole bicycle with G&J tires showing the Germanic priestess, Velleda, a legendary leader of the Batavian uprising against the Romans, with a bird of prey carrying chains and the Latin motto "Vae Catenis," or "Woe to Chains," above its head.
From the Library of Congress
Persistent link to full record

In the good old days of digitization, a large-ish poster like this was scanned in two pieces and the two parts offered up separately, leaving it to others to piece them together. The images are skewed and I could have probably done this better if I fiddled with it, but this is a lot better than what you see here.

The LA shaft-drive bikes have a chain stay (well, what else do you call it, even if it is a chainless bike??) plus the shaft drive, but this older bike follows the more "elegant" design of replacing the right side chain stay with the shaft drive shaft. So, you have to give the old time bike designers credit for that.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cyclist vs Man on Horse

As sometimes happens, while searching for something I saw in passing earlier in the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog I am unable to find what I had in mind but instead find something else.

From time to time one reads about "bike vs horse" races - this French poster advertises such a race between Samuel Franklin Cody (who took Wild Bill Cody's surname but was not related, it seems) and a French bicycle racer in 1893. This Cody was quite a character - at any rate, Wikipedia notes that, "While touring Europe in the mid-1890s, Cody capitalized on the bicycle craze by staging a series of horse vs. bicycle races against famous cyclists. Cycling organizations quickly frowned on this practice, which drew accusations of fixed results." So he moved on to other types of spectacles (that didn't involve bicycles).

Bike vs Horse, 1893 (bottom of poster)
Bottom of poster, scanned in two parts

Description from the Library of Congress:
Title: Hippodrome du Trotting Club Levallois - grand match en 12 heures: S. F. Cody Jr., le gd. tireur, célèbre cowboy du wild west, contre Meyer, le entraîneur terront, St. Petersbourg à Paris.
Date Created/Published: Paris : Émile Lévy & Cie., 1893.
Medium: 1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 194 x 93 cm.
Summary: Advertising poster for a race between S. F. Cody on horseback and French cycling champion, Meyer of Dieppe, on bicycle.
Full record

For some reason it was scanned in two parts. Also, the images were skewed so I straightened them (more or less) and cropped the targets out.

Bike vs Horse, 1893 (top of poster)
The top of the poster

Apparently this tradition continues - as recently as August of last year, Thomas Voeckler (who had placed fourth in the Tour de France) raced a trotter (a horse pulling a rider on a sulky) in three heats, losing two of them. According to a French source, "duels between professional cyclists and horses are not rare and generally turn to the advantage of the quadrupeds." Maybe in France . . .

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Déesse 16, rue Halévy, Paris - Lovely Poster

Déesse 16, rue Halévy, Paris
Déesse 16, rue Halévy, Paris, Jean de Paleologue, born 1855, artist

One print (poster), lithograph, color ; 149.9 x 110.5 cm. (That is, about 60 inches on the long dimension.) From about 1898.

Permanent Link is

As of December 22, 2011, not yet online but will be soon. I got an advance copy . . .

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pleasing 1896 Overman Bicycle Poster

Victor Bicycles Poster,1896
Victor Bicycles, Overman Wheel Co.

Poster advertisement for Overman Wheel Company's Victor bicycles, showing a woman watching another woman riding a bicycle. Includes art nouveau style flowers.

From the Library of Congress.