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Child's safety bicycle, about 1897

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Child's safety bicycle, about 1897
Negative #: 38-609-C


This object appears in the following sections:

Smithsonian Bicycle Collection — The collection 1896-1927

Child's safety bicycle
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection
Safety bicycles built in small children's sizes were somewhat uncommon during the 1890s. This cycle, however, is a fairly typical example of those that were made, and was used by the donor in October of 1897 when he was 3 1/2 years old. While no markings identify the maker, it is believed to have been built by the A. O. Smith Co., of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, makers (1914-19) of the well-known Smith Motor Wheel.
Physical Description
The frame, of steel tubing, is the conventional diamond type. The handlebars of bent wood are fitted with cork grips having brass ferrules that bear the incription, "Made in Plymouth, Ind., U.S.A.," but this undoutably refers only to the grips. A hand-operated warning bell is mounted on the right handlebar. The saddle has a wood-and-metal frame with numerous web straps, adjustable for tension, and is covered with felt and leather. The badly deteriorated leather bears the date, or number, 1898 in several places, and some initials not decipherable. The wheels are 12 inches in diameter and carry single-tube pneumatic tires. Drive is by the conventional chain and sprockets; no brake is provided.
Date Made:
about 1897
Indiana, Wisconsin
Gift of J. Ralph Cline

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