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Bicycles...getting a handle on technology

Bicycles: getting a handle on technology

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first American bicycle - Columbia Racer 1877Sewing machine factories had the equipment and skills to build bicycles, so some companies made the shift to this new, promising business. One such converted Englishman engineer was James Starley, one of the leading bicycle makers of his generation. Starley made a series of basic technological improvements that led to the development of the modern bicycle. As early as the 1870s, he devised ways to make steel tubing light yet strong enough to build bicycles. Later, he invented the "lever-tension" wheel, with metal rods attached between hub and rim. When the rods were tightened, the hub turned slightly, increasing the tension on the spokes in one simple movement.*



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*[From The American Bicycle. Pridmore and Hurd, 1995.]

Content - The Franklin Institute Online "Inquiry Attic" (June/July '99)

Note: The objects pictured above are part of The Franklin Institute's protected collection of objects. The images are The Franklin Institute. All rights are reserved.

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