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Old 02-11-08, 07:26 AM   #1
DougG
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Henry Ford Museum

We visited the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI yesterday (a good activity with the -25F wind chill!). I'd been there several times before, but not since my rediscovery of bicycling, and I was surprised by the number of interesting old bikes they had on display from the late 1800s and early 1900s (plus some "late model" bikes from our childhood era). Since bicycles were a really new invention in the 1800s, there were a lot of innovations tried out before they started to take a more standard form. Some of the more interesting ones included:
  • A "tandem" with side-by-side seating (an interesting challenge to balance!).
  • A ten-man bicycle. There was also a picture of it being ridden, with all of the riders wearing knickers, suit jackets, and caps).
  • One of those "big wheel" 1800s bikes that was categorized as a "climber" with the wheel being driven by an interesting linkage from the pedals so you could just pump the pedals straight up and down instead of in a circle.
  • An early bike with a frame made of hickory (would this qualify as the first "carbon-framed" bike?).
  • An "adult tricycle" from the 1890s that had two smaller wheels arranged in tandem on one side and a large driving wheel on the other side with the seat in the middle.

Anyway, it was a fascinating history of early bicycling in a couple dozen examples. If you've never been there, The Henry Ford is probably the best museum of the history of technology that I've seen. This was just one small part of it that I really noticed for the first time yesterday.
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Old 02-11-08, 08:52 AM   #2
Ken Brown
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I went to the Henry Ford four years ago and loved it. For anyone interested in transportation and engineering it is one of the best in the world. I went to the Deutsches Museum in Munich this past October, it is equally impressive, and has an excellent display of bicycles.
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Old 02-11-08, 09:53 AM   #3
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My dad worked for the C&O Railroad most of his working life. You know that huge steam locomotive that they have on display there? We have an old black & white photograph of my dad leaning out of the cab window of that same locomotive, back when it was used for hauling trains of coal.
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Old 02-11-08, 10:01 AM   #4
DougG
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Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
My dad worked for the C&O Railroad most of his working life. You know that huge steam locomotive that they have on display there? We have an old black & white photograph of my dad leaning out of the cab window of that same locomotive, back when it was used for hauling trains of coal.
No kidding? That is really cool! Standing next to that beast, it's hard to imagine how something that huge could be built and operated. I'd give anything to see it "powered up". I'm fortunate enough to have actually ridden on a regular passenger train pulled by a steam locomotive in the early 50s, and still remember as a kid walking down the ramp of Cincinnati's Union Terminal to where the trains were waiting, with the smell of the coal smoke and the hissing sounds of steam being let off.
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Old 02-12-08, 09:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
My dad worked for the C&O Railroad most of his working life. You know that huge steam locomotive that they have on display there? We have an old black & white photograph of my dad leaning out of the cab window of that same locomotive, back when it was used for hauling trains of coal.
I'm originally from Toledo. When I was in grade school, we took a field trip every spring to the Museum and to Greenfield Village. The Village was OK, but I loved going through the Museum. Every time I went, I made it a point to see that locomotive again. I can't remember for sure, but it was either a 2-8-8-2 or a 4-8-8-4. If there was one thing that made me want to go to college and be an engineer, seeing that locomotive was it.

University of Toledo
Class of 1972
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Old 02-12-08, 09:25 PM   #6
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First time I went was in 8th grade and I still remember that locomotive. We went to Greenfield Village on the same day and I mostly remember Wright Bros. workshop and Edison's workshop from GV.

I went again about 1965 but can't remember much about that trip except seeing the huge locomotive again.

Way cool about your dad, tpelle. Is he still living?

Last edited by Louis; 02-12-08 at 09:31 PM.
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