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Velocipede, about 1868

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Velocipede, about 1868
Smithsonian Institution, Negative #: 811-A


This object appears in the following sections:

Smithsonian Bicycle Collection — The collection, 1818-1869


Catalog #: 181,311, Accession #: 186,698
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection

The Hanlon brothers of New York City, a popular team of traveling acrobats, patented a number of inventions in the late 1860s that were designed to improve velocipedes.

This velocipede, which is of the Hanlon type, is believed to have been manufactured by J. N. Hazelip, otherwise unidentified, for his name is uniformly stamped into it in two places. This particular velocipede was donated the the Smithsonian in 1894, making it one of the earliest cycles in the collection.

Physical Description

Artifact. A forged-iron frame, terminating in a polished bronze casting at the front, supports a forged-iron front fork. The top of the fork is fitted with curved iron handlebars that undoubtedly were originally fitted with wooden grips, now missing. The wheels of the vehicle are made of wood, each with 12 spokes slightly staggered in the hub. The 41 1/4-inch front wheel and the 36-inch rear wheel carry iron tires. On the front axle, wooden, spool-shaped pedals are fitted to nonadjustable cranks having a throw of 6 1/2 inches. A thin metal saddle, probably originally covered with leather, is suspended on a broad, curved, single-leaf steel spring directly over the center of the frame. On the left front fork the name is accompanied by the number "43" which possibly could be a size, for the distance from the ground, underneath the front wheel, to the centerline of the frame, is 43 inches. No date appears on the machine.This machine originally had a white frame striped with red, and red wheels, the striping of which cannot now be discerned because of a coarse, later, finish.

Date Made:
about 1868
Gift of William R. Beisel

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