Sunday, July 29, 2012
Antique Bicycle Stars At Huntley Historical Society Meeting
Purn detailed McHenry County's part in running the Underground Railroad passing slaves to Wisconsin and the awful conditions faced by soldiers in the war. More died from typhoid, dysentery and pneumonia than bullets.
However, among a number of antique artifacts on hand Saturday was an actual example of Huntley bicycle manufacturer Frank Latimer's safety (as opposed to high-wheel) bicycle, circa 1897. Mechanical transportation of all sorts was in a state somewhere between flux and frenzy at the time and Latimer earned a patent on a braced diamond-frame bike with a hybrid ratcheting lever/rear chain drive system. Whatever mechanical merit it may have boasted, Latimer's system fell to the cheaper bicycle crank.
The Huntley inventor probably deserves at least an asterisk in the history books, though. In 1899 he won a patent for a tire with spirally wound wire reinforcement. It was something like tires are made today. However, again, cotton bias-ply cords were cheaper so radial construction wasn't adopted for another 50 years.
The Society elected officers Saturday. Pam Fender was chosen to be the new President. Ronda Goldman became VP. Nancy Bacheller will be the new Secretary. Jim Drendel is the new Treasurer and Frances Kreutzer is, once again, Membership Secretary. Fender said, "We'll continue to work towards getting a museum home and we will be working on making our meetings more 'public friendly' with more programs and less business."
In the pic: The Latimer bicycle, made, briefly, in Huntley.