Re: Scientific American trick riding 1894 and 1897

On Sat, 15 Dec 2007 16:13:00 -0700, carlfogel@xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

On Sat, 15 Dec 2007 13:21:07 -0800 (PST), Sheldon Brown
<CaptBike@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Dear Carl,

You have been coming up with wonderful stuff from old Scientific
Americans and the like, but the images you link to are so small as to
make the text basically illegible.

You're using, which is fine, but could you provide
information on how you're finding these articles (assuming you're
finding 'em on line, not scanning long-dead tree versions.)

Is there some central repository of ancient back issues, sort of like
the wonderful Cornell "Making of America" series?

( )

As ever, y'r. h'ble', obd't. s'vt.,

Sheldon "It Was All Invented Before WW1" Brown
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Dear Sheldon,

Oooh, Harper's Weekly digitized--thanks!


Image size . . .

It seems unlikely, but you may not have your browser showing the
tinypic images full-size. I expect that you use a Mac, but in Explorer
you move the mouse to the lower right corner of the image and
left-click on the little bigger-or-smaller icon that pops up.

On my alleged 17-inch diagonal screen, this 4-inch-wide unreadable
image expands to about 12 inches wide

Maybe some other Mac users will chime in and reveal how to expand the
images to full size--if that's the probelm.

But the scans are still wretched scans of bad copier printouts of
microfilm scans. Automatic exposure works about half the time, but the
rest of the time I get to guess what setting will fool the microfilm
reader, which retaliates by occasionally sulking and producing a
blinding white scan for the next half-dozen attempts.


My source . . .

Alas, I grovel through microfilm at the library. A dead tree version
would be wonderful, since it would be immensely faster and would copy
like a dream.

You wouldn't believe how frustrating and inconvenient the computerized
print-from-microfilm feature is at my library, so here's my rant:

Of course, the library microfilm is free, barring the dime-per-page
and my time. I tried a camera, but the lights shining off the reader's
screen made it useless. Like most people, I complain too much about
the quality of what's nearly free.


Digital source . . .

Alas, there's no digitized source for old Scientific Americans.

Gutenberg has a sampling of pre-1900 Scientific Americans, usually
with a nice html presentation that includes the illustrations.

But they seem to be just selected articles, not full issues, so the
smaller articles that addressed bikes are usually missing. I searched
them and came up practically empty. You can see them by going to
Gutenberg and searching in the title for scientific american

No quote marks, and you have to include supplement. Otherwise, the
search fails.

Thanks again for that Harper's Weekly link. An curiously improved
version of your beloved Bio-Pace oval chain rings will appear soon.


Carl Fogel

A nice trio of ads in Harpers of 1895, showing that the bike boom was

Drawings like the top one of a rider using coasting pegs are rare.

This is the only actual photograph of coasting pegs in action that
I've found:

Graphite chain lubrication gave way to the modern oil versus wax
debate. You could buy graphite sticks, 2nd from the top on the right,
along with other necessities, such as Plugolio and other tube
sealants, rim cement or shellac, and soapstone (apparently they
believed in the virtue of talc on inner tubes):

The same sundries from Morley Brothers 1916 catalogue:


Carl Fogel

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