Object StatementBicycle, American Star, 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
Physical DescriptionBicycle, American Star, 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, 22 inches (56 cm) in diameter, at the front, which was for steering, and the large wheel, 50 inches (127 cm), 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, which are not original, 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. The leather straps are missing the metal clip arrangement for tying on to levers. There is a spoon brake operating on the rear wheel. The bicycle has broken spokes and shows traces of green paint with white lining. There are a number of missing parts including the handlebars, saddle pan, saddle and rubber tread of pedal.