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Safety bicycle:Indian

Hendee Mfg. Co.ca. 1910

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

Created for the first time in 1887, the "safety" bicycle sent the rising bicycling craze of the late 19th century soaring. While the ordinary bicycle, with its massive front wheel and small rear wheel, required extraordinary agility, anyone could ride safety bicycles. They had two equal-sized wheels and, after 1889, manufacturers equipped them with mass-produced pneumatic (air-filled) tires that softened the ride a bit. With its dropped middle bar and fenders, this safety bicycle, made around 1910 by the Hendee Manufacturing Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, enabled women to ride comfortably without entangling their skirts. Praised by women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony in 1896 for doing "more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world," it gave them, in her view, "a feeling of freedom and self-reliance." The bicycle changed the way women dressed and how they interacted with men. Reformers commended the liberation brought about with the introduction of bloomers and shorter skirts, while critics considered them immoral. Popular among middle-class men and women in the Northeast, bicycles gave them a socially acceptable way to go out without the watchful eye of a nearby chaperone.

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Details

  • Title: Safety bicycle:Indian
  • Creator: Hendee Mfg. Co.
  • Date Created: ca. 1910, ca. 1910
  • Location: Springfield, MA, Springfield, MA
  • Subject Keywords: woman, woman
  • Type: Outdoor Play, Outdoor Play
  • Medium: string, rubber, wood, leather, metal
  • Object ID: 76.5102, 76.5102

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