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Starley Psycho Safety bicycle, 1887

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Starley Psycho Safety bicycle, 1887
Smithsonian Institution, Negative #: 64-844


This object appears in the following sections:

Smithsonian Bicycle Collection — The collection, 1887-1891

Starley Psycho safety bicycle
Catalog #: 218,218, Accession #: 40,967
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection
This bicycle, built by Starley Brothers, St. John's Works, Coventry, England, is of the improved cross-frame, Safety type, with a crank-bracket stay, a stay between the steering head and the top of the saddle post, and a pair of stays from the rear end of the rear fork to the top of the saddle post. For it, the manufacturers of this machine were awarded a gold medal at the International Exhibition at Toulouse, France, in 1887. It was donated to the Smithsonian in 1903.
Physical Description

Artifact. This bicycle's frame is of metal tubing, the handlebars are metal with wooden grips on each end, and the Brooks saddle, of leather over coil springs, is adjustable both vertically and fore and aft. Each wheel, 30 inches in diameter, has a thin solid rubber tire and 48 radial wire spokes. The rear-wheel sprocket, on the right side of the wheel, is driven by a block chain from the front sprocket, which is equipped with pedals adjustable in throw from 5 1/2 to 6 1/4 inches. The chain tension is adjusted by moving the rear axle backwards or forwards in slots at the rear end of the rear fork. There is no coaster attachment, the pedals always turning while the bicycle is in motion. Oil cups are provided in the hub of each wheel. A metal mudguard is secured over the rear of the front wheel, but only the lower portion of the rear mudguard remains. A small footrest is attached to each side of the front-wheel fork, for use while coasting, and a step is attached to the left side of the rear fork for use when mounting the machine. A warning bell is affixed to the left handlebar, and a lever for hand operation of the front-wheel brake spoon is pivoted on the right handlebar. A flat leaf spring normally holds the spoon away from the tire. A support for a headlamp, now missing, is mounted on the upper part of the front fork so that the lamp's rays would always be thrown in the direction of the front wheel's travel. The attractive original finish-black with red and gold striping-was duplicated in 1968 when the Psycho was restored in the Museum's shop.

Date Made:
about 1887
Coventry, England
Gift of J. E. Hosford

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