Sunday, January 11, 2009

The P-cubed Corner -- Grandfather bikes are NOWHERE to be found!

First off, allow me to explain this...and no, I'm not in the middle of some opium-induced binge.

I've always been fascinated with the City Beautiful movement, which canvassed the period from the early 1890s (specifically the Chicago World's Fair) up to America's entry into World War I.

Blame part of it on my career as a city planner, although I found out more about its significance doing reading on my own than what was presented to me in college...or maybe I missed that day of class from drinking a keg of beer.

This was a period of time when the auto hadn't quite taken hold yet, and our nation was making great advances in train, early light rail, and street car technology. In terms of transportation policy in the States, it was a fork in the road, so to speak.

Ideas and invention flourished. We were still riding the momentum of the course Lincoln had set for us in the 1860s. The telephone had just been invented, and use of electricity was growing.

Style and dress wise, the period is also an assault on the senses. Images of three-piece suits, top hats, handlebar mustaches, and those funny-looking muscle guys in striped exercise outfits with those big round dumbells come to mind. The only recent pop culture reference I can think of to the dress of this period is perhaps a photo shoot on the back of a mid-90s (that is, 1990s) CD by the band Phish (of course, why not?).

It was also the era of the grandfather bicycle...however an online Google search revealed ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on this antique form of transportation. I found nothing on wikipedia either.

I'm totally fascinated by this, which makes the search for a grandfather bike even more intriguing. This item is totally turning out to be an enigma of sorts...but nothing online about it? Nothing?

Let me know if any of you find out or know of any resources available out there.


Kim said...

Please forgive my ignorance, but what did a grandfather bicycle look like? Are they the ones with a big front wheel?

Sweva said...

Yes! It's called the Penny Farthing...see next post.