Early American Bicycle Works

Exploring the Architecture and Innovation of an Industry

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About the Book

Few inventions rival the bicycle’s global reach. Even fewer have maintained their fundamental design for more than 130 years, a feat achieved by the true safety bicycle after 1890. With two equal-sized wheels, a diamond frame, rear-wheel chain drive, and pneumatic tires, the true safety bike’s design is globally recognizable. Despite its cultural significance, the bicycle remains inadequately represented in our built and cultural environments.
This book explores the history of the early American bicycle industry. It examines factory complexes, worker housing, and urban plans that go back to America’s seminal period of bicycle manufacturing, which began in 1878 with the production of elegant high-wheel models. By studying the architecture, engineering, and inventions of those involved in bicycle design and manufacture, this research sheds light on various aspects of the industry during its early years. These perspectives encompass financial capitalization, debt, and the skills and foresight of company officials, occasional hard or deceptive practices, the growing fascination with automobiles, and the formation of the American Bicycle Company trust in 1899. Collectively, these insights contribute to the preservation of cycling’s nineteenth century heritage within our built environment.

About the Author(s)

Robert L. McCullough is a professor of historic preservation at the University of Vermont and has written about America’s built environments and cultural landscapes. He lives in Vermont.

Bibliographic Details

Robert L. McCullough
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 125 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9669-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5462-1
Imprint: McFarland