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Old 09-12-13, 01:26 PM   #1
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Wright Brothers Catalog

This is kind of cool. A brochure for the Wright Cycle Co. Van Cleve model.

Also check out the link to "The Bicycle Craze" on the left side.
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Old 09-12-13, 04:41 PM   #2
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"Gear -- 70 to 100", wow. That's a higher range than I would have expected for 1900. Cool find!

The quote about "trusts" gobbling up and consolidating smaller bicycle makers brings companies like Dorel -- and Raleigh before them -- to mind.

I love this gem as well:

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The ... one-piece crank which we use in the Van Cleve is so much better than two or three piece cranks, that it is probable that these latter will be entirely dropped within a few years on all bicycles except the cheapest.
I'm tempted to say "oops", but they really did catch on for a long time in the American bicycle industry.
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Old 09-12-13, 05:56 PM   #3
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Very cool piece of history! Thanks!

But the page views didn't load real well on my computer.

Is it just me?
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Old 09-12-13, 06:11 PM   #4
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Very cool piece of history! Thanks!

But the page views didn't load real well on my computer.

Is it just me?
I had trouble loading the full images on Firefox, but it worked in IE.
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Old 09-12-13, 07:21 PM   #5
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I had trouble loading the full images on Firefox, but it worked in IE.
Their pages are broken. Not surprised they work in IE, but they shouldn't.
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Old 09-12-13, 09:43 PM   #6
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I had trouble loading the full images on Firefox, but it worked in IE.
Yep, apparently optimized for IE.

It's a fascinating look into the state of the art of bicycle building in 1900.
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Old 09-12-13, 09:45 PM   #7
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"Gear -- 70 to 100", wow. That's a higher range than I would have expected for 1900. Cool find!

The quote about "trusts" gobbling up and consolidating smaller bicycle makers brings companies like Dorel -- and Raleigh before them -- to mind.
I bet they were thinking about Pope and Columbia who were the big boys on the block then.
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Old 09-12-13, 10:54 PM   #8
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Yep, apparently optimized for IE.

It's a fascinating look into the state of the art of bicycle building in 1900.
Only three years before they flew down in North Carolina, and Ford and Olds started mass production of automobiles up in Michigan. What an amazing period of innovation! Even the computer age of our times cannot match it. Michigan and Ohio in 1900 were a much bigger deal than Silicon Valley 100 years later.
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Old 09-13-13, 07:59 AM   #9
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Love cycling and history. Thanks for posting.
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Old 09-13-13, 09:03 AM   #10
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Only three years before they flew down in North Carolina.
So this brochure directly helped fund the invention of powered flight. The bicycle business gave them the capital to do their research and development.
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Old 09-13-13, 09:44 AM   #11
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We had the opportunity to visit Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford Museum over Labor Day. Ford "collected" houses (bought them, dismantled them and reassembled them in Dearborn, MI) of many entrepreneurs and inventors from the turn of the century. They have the last of the Wright Brothers Bicycle shops there - http://www.thehenryford.org/exhibits...12/12_june.asp

There's a nice display of tools, bike parts, and machinery where they started to build their plane. Very exciting stuff, if you are into history. I highly recommend a visit to the Museum and to Greenfield Village. We spent two complete days there and I still don't feel like I saw everything. Oh, and the Model T's running around the village are not to be missed! Kids will love them!
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Old 09-13-13, 10:40 AM   #12
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I bet they were thinking about Pope and Columbia who were the big boys on the block then.
Yeah. The more things change...
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Old 09-13-13, 10:46 AM   #13
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Only three years before they flew down in North Carolina, and Ford and Olds started mass production of automobiles up in Michigan. What an amazing period of innovation! Even the computer age of our times cannot match it. Michigan and Ohio in 1900 were a much bigger deal than Silicon Valley 100 years later.
Very true. Ohio and Michigan were the center of the "tech world" of the 1900s.

I've visited the Wright Brothers museum and shop in Dayton Ohio. What a wonderful trip back in time.
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Old 09-13-13, 10:55 AM   #14
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Very true. Ohio and Michigan were the center of the "tech world" of the 1900s.

I've visited the Wright Brothers museum and shop in Dayton Ohio. What a wonderful trip back in time.
While in Dayton be sure to also see What the Wright Brothers Hath Wrought at the AF Museum at Wright Patterson AB. It is a fabulous museum dedicated to Army/AF aircraft from Wright Bros through the present.
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Old 09-13-13, 11:40 AM   #15
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While in Dayton be sure to also see What the Wright Brothers Hath Wrought at the AF Museum at Wright Patterson AB. It is a fabulous museum dedicated to Army/AF aircraft from Wright Bros through the present.
ILTB, I was there too. My son is a big aviation buff (during high school he volunteered with a crew that restored a Spitfire fighter back to flying shape). After he graduated from HS him and I went on a train trip to Ohio.

The museum at Wright-Patterson is an amazing tribute to flying. Hard to imagine than in about 100 years' time we went from the Wright Flyer to manned space travel.

And it all started with a couple of bike builders!
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Old 09-13-13, 11:46 AM   #16
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While in Dayton be sure to also see What the Wright Brothers Hath Wrought at the AF Museum at Wright Patterson AB. It is a fabulous museum dedicated to Army/AF aircraft from Wright Bros through the present.
All technology has a dark side. Paris probably would not have fallen in 1940 if the Wehrmacht lacked tanks (derived from automobiles) to push around French defenses. But the allies would not have liberated the city so quickly without their own tanks and aircraft.

I read somewhere that one of the Wright brothers partially regretted inventing the airplane when he saw how much destruction it caused in the World War.
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Old 09-13-13, 12:43 PM   #17
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I read somewhere that one of the Wright brothers partially regretted inventing the airplane when he saw how much destruction it caused in the World War.
I'd like to see a citation on that, considering that the first customer of the Wright Aircraft Co. was the military.

It would have to have been Orville, as Wilbur died in 1912. Orville was still alive when Chuck Yeager flew the Bell X-1 at supersonic speeds, and Howard Hughes flew the Spruce Goose.
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Old 09-13-13, 02:01 PM   #18
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Very true. Ohio and Michigan were the center of the "tech world" of the 1900s.

I've visited the Wright Brothers museum and shop in Dayton Ohio. What a wonderful trip back in time.
I was just there last weekend, saw a Van Cleve in person. He showed us the hole where the last shop was before it was moved.
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Old 09-13-13, 02:12 PM   #19
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I'd like to see a citation on that, considering that the first customer of the Wright Aircraft Co. was the military.

It would have to have been Orville, as Wilbur died in 1912. Orville was still alive when Chuck Yeager flew the Bell X-1 at supersonic speeds, and Howard Hughes flew the Spruce Goose.
I remember reading something similar as well.
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Old 09-13-13, 05:56 PM   #20
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I'd like to see a citation on that, considering that the first customer of the Wright Aircraft Co. was the military.

It would have to have been Orville, as Wilbur died in 1912. Orville was still alive when Chuck Yeager flew the Bell X-1 at supersonic speeds, and Howard Hughes flew the Spruce Goose.
Sorry, it's just my memory and not very reliable. I am aware that the military bought a lot of planes and stuff from the Wright.company. But some industrialists had misgivings about the people killed by their products, notably Alfred Nobel.
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Old 09-13-13, 08:14 PM   #21
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Their top of the line bike, $47 in 1900 is $1276 in 2012.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For me, this is the most amazing part. They didn't just design the airplane body and wings,

For the airplane, they built their own wind tunnel.
During the fall of 1901, the brothers began to question the aerodynamic data on which they were basing their designs. They decided to measure their own values of lift and drag with a series of wind tunnel tests.
They built their own gasoline engine, too.
To turn the propellers, the brothers designed and built a gasoline powered internal combustion engine.

The aluminum engine
The engine had no fuel pump, carburetor, or spark plugs. Nor did it have a throttle. Yet the simple motor produced 12 horsepower, an acceptable margin above the Wrights’ minimum requirement of 8 horsepower. Gasoline was gravity fed from a small quart-and-a-half tank mounted on a strut below the upper wing. The gasoline entered a shallow chamber next to the cylinders and mixed with the incoming air. Heat from the crankcase vaporized the fuel-air mixture, causing it to pass through the intake manifold into the cylinders.

Ignition was produced by opening and closing two contact breaker points in the combustion chamber of each cylinder via a camshaft.
And a new propeller design
One of the most innovative aspects of the 1903 Flyer was its propellers. The Wrights’ decided to treat the propeller as if it were a rotary wing. They reasoned that the same physics that generated an upward force (lift) on a curved surface in a flow of air would also produce a horizontal force (thrust) when such a surface was positioned vertically and rotated to create the airflow.
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Old 09-13-13, 08:34 PM   #22
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And the wing controls were inspired when Orville twisted the box for a bicycle tube.
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Old 09-13-13, 08:36 PM   #23
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Sorry, it's just my memory and not very reliable. I am aware that the military bought a lot of planes and stuff from the Wright.company. But some industrialists had misgivings about the people killed by their products, notably Alfred Nobel.
Okay, I found some source on it. There are a number of quotes.

Wright's perspective on the Role of Airplanes in War
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Old 09-13-13, 09:19 PM   #24
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"Gear -- 70 to 100", wow. That's a higher range than I would have expected for 1900. Cool find!
A 100' inch single speed balloon wheel bicycle? LOL! They must have had legs of steel back in 1900. Actually, I think the police were riding on single speed bikes with huge rings back then.

Also the "Coaster Brake" was the most modern invention at that time. It's funny how they make it sound so advanced.

Looking at the Von Cleve for $47.00 dollars, the saddle looks way too low and the handlebars would be very uncomfortable in that position for any long distance riding. Also, the rake of the front fork is way off making the bike feel squarly.

The womans bike is actually better but the handlebars are now too close. There's a YouTube video of people riding bikes from the turn of the century and all had slight trouble riding due to the fork rake.

>>>>The Wright Bicycle Co. was profitable for many years. In 1897, their best year, they made $3000 between them at a time when the average American worker was doing well to make $500 per year. The Wright’s stopped producing own-label bikes in 1904. The bike store continued to sell branded bikes and P&A but was converted to a machine shop in 1909 when the Wright Company, an aircraft manufacturing business, started producing bicycle-inspired parts for aeroplane engines>>>>
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Old 09-13-13, 11:59 PM   #25
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But some industrialists had misgivings about the people killed by their products, notably Alfred Nobel.
Now that this is thread is no longer about the Wright catalog :

On the other hand there may be a few PC/Green Saints who never regret anything they do or say no matter how misguided or ill advised; think Ralph Nadar and the 2000 election results.
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