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Smith Pony Star bicycle, 1891

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Smith Pony Star bicycle, 1891
Smithsonian Institution, Negative #: 797.5-E


This object appears in the following sections:

Smithsonian Bicycle Collection — The collection, 1887-1891

Smith Star bicycle

Smith Pony Star bicycle
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection

This Star bicycle was donated to the Smithsonian in 1913. It bears the nameplate of the H. B. Smith Machine Company, of Smithville New Jersey, and has the serial number 3025 and patent dates of 1880, 1884, and 1885. Known as a "Pony Star," the cycle is believed to have been made in 1891, a year after the newly invented pneumatic tire had found its way to America. The rear wheel's pneumatic tire is the earliest example of that technology (invented by J. B. Dunlop) in the Museum's collections.

Patent Office records reveal that Patents 321,819 and 321,932 were both issued on 7 July 1885 to William S. Kelley, of Smithville, New Jersey. Both show bicycles of the Star type, and claim improvements in bicycles and tricycles.

Physical Description

Artifact. This bicycle is very similar in appearance to the full-size 1884 Star that is also in the collection. Its method of steering and operation are the same. The steering post is not within a tube, however. The front wheel, fitted with a solid rubber tire, is 23 inches in diameter and contains 24 spokes. The rear wheel contains 72 tangential spokes and is fitted with a 40-inch-diameter single-tube pneumatic tire. The leather saddle, mounted on springs, is adjustable fore and aft. The handlebars are of the cow-horn variety and have spade-grips. A linkage operated by the rider's right hand causes a spoon brake to bear against the rear tire, the linkage being returned to the "off" position by a flat leaf spring. As on the other Star, two driving ratios are available by shifting the effective attachment points of the straps to the foot levers.

Date Made:
New Jersey
Gift of Robert Atwater Smith

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