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UKFan4Sure 12-29-19 06:03 PM

1896 Punnett Double Bike -- Wheels Through Time Museum
A couple of buddies and me went down to Maggie Valley, NC for a week to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway. One rainy day, we decided to go to the Wheels Through Time museum. At one display was this 1896 Punnett Double bike. I meant to post this when I got back, but seeing the recent Glenwood find by OldsCool made me remember it (wooden wheels triggered my memory). Enjoy:

thumpism 12-29-19 08:24 PM

That's called a "sociable." There was a company making conversion kits for solo bikes in the '70s.

KenNC 01-03-20 12:35 PM

Golly I had to look at that 2 or 3 times to figure it out. Very interesting, thanks for posting! Found some more info here in case anyone is interested:

Wildwood 01-03-20 01:02 PM

Yes very interesting. Nearly 125 years new.
Thank goodness for museums and internet.

For the Puget Sound crowd - Maybe it was the show in Anacortes? who may have photo'd the couple that had a side-by-side machine and another very old bike. They were period dressed as well. I dreamily remember extremely large wheels on the sidebyside, and in such good condition and rideable as to wonder if they were replicas.

Could it have been one of the final Velocult C&V ride&show in PDX?

jackbombay 01-03-20 02:28 PM

Some of these were made in the 70s as well, one came up on CL a while back pretty far from me, the price was absurd...

Would be a neat item to have in the herd.

squirtdad 01-03-20 05:16 PM

IIRC there was guy making these from paramount frames....but I can't find the reference...... the restoration on this one is amazing

iab 01-03-20 05:32 PM

Originally Posted by squirtdad (Post 21269131)
the restoration on this one is amazing


I very much appreciate the bike, but pop rivets on the headbadge? All the chrome bits should be nickel instead. While I'm not certain, the chain guard and fenders just seem wrong. No oiler ports on the BB shell, just holes. The pedals and cranks are really, really cool though.

bikemike73 01-03-20 06:27 PM

GREAT pics and story

Thank you for sharing such a rare gift !!!!

Wildwood 01-04-20 08:17 AM

The main problem with a sociable in 1896 is NO brakes.
Wouldn't have worked in Seattle or San Francisco.
They didn't even have rubber soled shoes back then.

Certainly not a household wall-hanger.
There's a reason for museums...
And justifications for less than a 100% accurate reconstruction (depending on the price paid to 2 restoration 'experts').

Major kudos to the people who preserved it so nicely.

If it was made in New York, the target market was likely New York City dwellers who wanted 'space' (and their feet and dresses off the ground) while competing with horses and unwashed humans on the streets. Or like-minded people in other New England cities & towns.

since6 01-04-20 09:17 AM

WOW, dual connected steering controls.

For a tandem couple, which we are, this adds an entirely new dimension to the classic tandem steering issue of lean. For example you're on a road without a bike lane and a rather sharp drop off of the paved highway to the narrow dirt/grass. You think you're just fine in placing the tandem close to that edge, but your stoker doesn't feel that way.

Hey! The bike just wandered a couple inches away from your line and and away from the edge. So you lean towards your line the bike moves back, and then it moves out again, etc. etc. until you turn around to find you and your stoker are leaning opposite directions to the point you look like a "Y" on the bike.

Time to stop and have a companionship chat.

But with two controlling the actual front wheel....:eek::twitchy:.

What happens on a steep decent in a corner when someone feels the need to correct the line? Probably something very painful.

thumpism 01-04-20 07:42 PM

Buddy Bike was one of the '80s offerings. I think Barrett was another brand building the conversion kits and complete bikes.

Wildwood 01-04-20 08:35 PM

Double the complexity of vintage racing triples, which are tricky as well and only one occupant to balance.

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