Columbia Dwarf Safety

Pope Manufacturing Co.1887

Canada Science and Technology Museum

Canada Science and Technology Museum
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The Columbia Dwarf Safety was the U.S. version of a British design known as the Kangaroo. It continued the trend in Safety Ordinaries towards smaller wheels and compensating machinery — in this case, using the type of chain drive that was common on Tricycles.

The front wheel of this model was only 38 inches (97 cm) high, so mounting was easy and you could still reach the ground with your feet.

The small front wheel made it impractical to use regular pedals attached to the hub. Instead, the forks were extended below the hub to provide a place to mount the chain drives for each pedal, one on either side of the wheel.

Despite the small front wheel, the Dwarf’s size lowered its wind resistance and the machine also allowed you to gear up to get the equivalent drive of a big wheel. These factors meant you could enjoy a very fast ride.

On the downside, the small wheels, hard rubber tires, short wheelbase and chains made for non-stop vibration along the way.

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  • Title: Columbia Dwarf Safety
  • Creator: Pope Manufacturing Co.
  • Date: 1887
  • Location Created: Hartford, Conneticut