When the first diamond frame bicycles became popular in the 1890s they were often called "wheels" - the national cycling association was called the "League of American Wheelmen." We have moved from "wheels" to "bikes," but the bicycles have remained remarkably the same over more than 100 years - elegant in their efficiency and simplicity. And many of the issues that we think are new? They were around then too.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
1922 DC News Photo - Cyclist Listening to Radio on Bicycle
Fifteen year old DC cyclist has radio mounted on his bike
This comes from the Washington Times for September 4, 1922 - a page titled "Times picture page of live views and news." ("Live" is a relative term, it seems.) The page has a variety of human interest photographs with short explanatory captions.
The quality of the photo reflects that this image was digitized from microfilm that was never expected to serve as the source material for high resolution examination in this way. (Gee, I sound sorta like Nicholson Baker, God help us.)
Anyway, upon thoughtful examination of the image above (or you can zoom in with the PDF version) you can make out that young Murray has a radio fitted in the front triangle of the frame of the bicycle and a set of headphones connected to it by a long-ish cable. Just looking at the photo, the idea of someone riding a bicycle and listening to a radio in 1922 seems advanced but it appears that is not was going on - the caption notes that he "has a fully equipped radio outfit on his two-wheeler and wherever he parks he can cut in on the music." So he was only using this set up when stopped. (Considering that a radio at this time would have had glass tubes, the quality of the streets may have been better in those days.)
According to Wikipedia, radios were not commercially available for cars until the 1930s although hobbyists much like Murray with his bicycle were installing them in cars long before that. But this would have made the idea of a radio for a bicycle - even a parked bicycle - a human interest news item of local DC interest in 1922.
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