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Columbia Model 43 tandem bicycle, 1896

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Columbia Model 43 tandem bicycle, 1896
Smithsonian Institution, Negative #: 49-442-G


This object appears in the following sections:

Smithsonian Bicycle Collection — The collection 1896-1927

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Columbia Model 43 tandem bicycle
Catalog #: 309,506, Accession #: 102,595
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection
This Model 43 Columbia bicycle, manufactured by the Pope Manufacturing Co., Hartford, Connecticut, was purchased in Washington, D.C., in the spring of 1896 for $150.00. It was used by Mr. and Mrs. Goldwin Goldsmith for a honeymoon tour through Europe. The tandem bicycle, using a combination of the diamond frame and the drop frame-allowing a man and a woman to ride together-helped make tandem bicycles more popular. The Goldsmiths donated their bicycle to the Smithsonian in 1928.
Physical Description

Artifact. This tandem bicycle's frame is made of high-carbon steel and nickel-steel tubing, the handlebars are tubular with vulcanite-tipped cork handles, and the wheel rims are of laminated wood. The diameter of each wheel with tire is the same, 28 inches, the front wheel containing 36 tangentially laced steel spokes and the rear, 44.

The hubs are machined from solid drop forgings of steel, and are fitted with detachable ball cases for the bearings. The tires on the cycle when it was presented to the Museum were 1 3/4-inch single-tube pneumatics made by the Hartford Rubber Works Co., a subsidiary of the Pope Manufacturing Co. These were in such deteriorated condition that they were replaced when the bicycle was restored in 1961. The rear-wheel sprocket, on the right side of the hub, is driven by a block chain from the larger of the two-center sprockets. Another block chain connects the smaller sprocket of the center pair to the front sprocket. Tension of the rear chain is adjusted by moving the rear axle backward or forward in slots at the rear ends of the rear fork and that of the front chain, by turning the eccentrically mounted front-crank bearing bushing in the frame, thus moving the front sprocket backward or forward.

The throw of the pedals is not adjustable, that of the front pedals being 6 inches and of the rear, 7 1/2 inches. There is no coaster attachment, and the pedals always turn while the bicycle is in motion. No footrests are attached to the front fork for use while coasting. The rear handlebars turn in unison with the front, a drag link connecting short arms attached to the lower ends of the steering posts.

Date Made:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Goldwin Goldsmith

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