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Bicycles...getting a handle on technology

Bicycle Slide Show

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Rober Safety 1881
Rover Safety: 1881.
Starley & Co., England, first builders of the "Safety."
(acquired from Veteran Wheelmen's Association, Philadelphia.)



Victor Safety 1886
Victor Safety: 1886.
Manufactured by the Overman Wheel Co. America.
(Acquired from Veteran Wheelmen's Association, Philadelphia.)



Monarch Woman Safety 1893
Monarch, Woman's Safety: 1893.
Manufactured by Monarch Manufacturing Co. Has forked lamp for riding at night.
(Acquired from Veteran Wheelmen's Association, Philadelphia.)



Hickory Safety 1900
Hickory Safety: 1900.
Manufactured by Hickory Bicycle Co. (Note: The original Hickory had hickory spokes and frame.) (Acquired from Veteran Wheelmen's Association, Philadelphia.)

The Safety Bicycle

The next evolution in bicycle making was the "Safety" bicycles. They were called "Safety" because it was considered safe after people had ridden the Ordinary bicycle, from which so many headers and dangerous falls were taken.

The Victor Safety was the first American "Safety" bicycle made. A special feature of this bicycle was the front spring forks.

The Safety bicycle had wheels of equal size, the bicycle frame was made from hollow steel tubing, and many of them were chain driven. In 1889, the pneumatic (air filled) tires were invented by Scottish veterinarian John Dunlop and were included in the Safety's design.

As the Safety bicycle became more affordable for the working class (cost was about one month's average workingman's wage), its popularity increased to such a point that the 1890's social revolution was credited to the bicycle. People began venturing beyond a ten mile radius from their home and women were able to travel without an escort. Susan B. Anthony said that "the bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world."


Columbia Safety Chainless 1902
Columbia Safety Chainless: 1902.
Manufactured by the Pope Manufacturing Co.
(acquired from Veteran Wheelmen's Association, Philadelphia.)

Columbia Safety Light Roadster 1931
Columbia Safety Light Roadster: 1931.
Manufactured by the Westfield Manufacturing Co, Westfield Mass. (formerly Pope Mfg.)
(acquired from Veteran Wheelmen's Association, Philadelphia.)

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