Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wheels and Wheeling (1892)

Another book from the Library of Congress collections, digitized by Google, is
Wheels and wheeling: an indispensible handbook for cyclists published in 1892. The modern "safety bicycle" was not dominant at that early point.

The first chapter describes the important "League of American Wheelmen" in rather great detail, followed by an entire chapter about "macadam roads." Finally the history of the bicycle is given and the "copious illustrations" described on the title page begin.

Early forerunners of the (modern) "safety bicycle" are described, such as the "Bicyclette."

Bicyclette (1880)

The basic modern bicycle is called a "diamond safety."

Diamond Safety Bicycle

One senses that the move to the basic modern bicycle had some who resisted - note this "chainless" variant of a "safety bicycle" ~

Chainless Safety Bicycle (1892)

There are of course mysteries - did the chainless safety (above) have a freewheel of some sort in the front hub? Otherwise why is there a brake for the front wheel - or perhaps the illustration is in error.

And there are ads from different bicycle manufacturers in the front and back.

Rambler Bike Ad from (1892)

Amusing description of the pneumatic tires.


  1. I am looking for a print called "The Record Breaker" that features a safety bicycle. It is by William Rainey, illustrator.

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