Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pedaling 5-Foot-Tall Velocipede Was Popular 1880s Adventure

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pedaling 5-Foot-Tall Velocipede Was Popular 1880s Adventure

Article excerpt

High bicycles, or high-wheelers (actually tricycles or velocipedes), were in fashion in the 19th century. A bike had a large front wheel, with a diameter of more than 60 inches, and small back wheels to keep it steady when you got on and off. The large wheel made it possible to travel farther with each push of the pedal. It also helped make bumps less noticeable. The high-wheel bicycle with only two wheels was made by the 1880s.

The biggest problem with these bicycles was mounting. It was an athletic feat in itself. It was easy to fall forward over the large front wheel and land on the ground.

Q: I have an old, mahogany, Queen Anne-style, bonnet-top highboy. In the drawer, there's a burned-in circle hallmark enclosing the words, "Charak Furniture Co., Boston, Mass."

A: The Charak Furniture Co. of Boston was a leading 20th-century manufacturer of reproductions of traditional Colonial furniture. Your highboy is a reproduction that's worth more than $1,000. In the 1950s, the company hired Donald Deskey, a well-known American designer, to create a line of colorful, plastic-laminated modern furniture.

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