Object StatementBicycle, American Star, No. 1803, metal / leather, made by H. P. Smith Machine Co, Smithville, Burlington County, New Jersey, United States of America, 1885-1890, designed by George W. Pressey, Hammonton, New Jersey, United States of America, 1881
Physical DescriptionBicycle, American Star, No. 1803, metal / leather, made by H. P. Smith Machine Co., Smithville, Burlington County, New Jersey, USA, 1885-1890, designed by George W. Pressey, Hammonton, New Jersey, USA, 1881
The American Star bicycle reversed the penny farthing arrangement and has the small wheel, 18 inches in diameter, at the front, which was for steering, and the large wheel at the rear. Both wheels have steel radial butted spokes and solid rubber tyres. The bicycle is operated by levers and ratchet gear from the rear wheel. The levers carry the pedals on the forward ends and are hinged at the rear to projections on the lower rod of the frame behind the hub. At the bend of the levers, below the hub, leather straps are attached to pins. The straps pass around drums on the driving wheel axles. Pressure on the levers draws down the straps and rotates the drums, which drive the wheel through a ratchet arrangement. A spring within the drum winds up the strap and raises the lever to make it ready for the next stroke. The levers can be depressed alternately or, when increased speed is required, simultaneously. There are two steps up to the non-original saddle, which is clamped to the saddle spring. A spoon brake from the handle bars operates on the rear wheel. The bicycle is now finished in black but when acquired by the Museum in 1954 was painted in blue house paint.
MarksOn right lever: "SHOCKSTOPS". On front hub: "1803 / H.B. Smith Machine Co / Smithville N.J. / Patented Oct 26th / and Nov 23rd 1880 / January 29 1884".