The Pryor Dodge Bicycle Collection
This collection offers a glimpse of the 19th Century from the handlebars of a bicycle. Over over 2,000 original artifacts from Europe and the U. S. portray the technical, social and esthetic aspects of this medium during its first 100 years, dating from 1819.
Viewers will discover the fascination the public had for this remarkable human-powered contraption. It was a liberating vehicle for women in the 1890's that facilitated freedom of movement & association and was instrumental in the introduction of "rational dress". The seemingly unlimited ways artists imagined bicycle use is colorfully represented in magnificent prints and posters.
Several of the exhibition's highlights include: a magnificent Michaux velocipede tricycle with a carved dragon's head, a Phantom velocipede, the first to have a rubber tire, an Ariel, the first manufactured high-wheeler, and a BSA safety, one of the earliest manufactured chain-drive bicycles. Novel use of materials is represented with a bentwood hickory and a bamboo-framed bicycle. There is a Columbia chainless bicycle that belonged to John D. Rockefeller, a c1905 Terrot Levocyclette, the earliest manufactured bicycle with 10 speeds, and a c1925 BSA racer that once belonged to Henry Ford.
The exhibition ends with sections on the bicycle's contribution to the development of the automobile and the Wright brothers, who began in the bicycle trade.
• The Christian Science Monitor, June 11, 2010 (14 years after publication):
10 great books about cycling
"The Bicycle, by Pryor Dodge. If you want to revel in the sheer beauty of the bicycle, this is your book. Pryor Dodge has assembled a coffee-table book that not only serves as an illustrated history of the bicycle, but also encourages readers to treat the bike as a work of art."
• The Guardian, Manchester (UK), February 27, 1997:
" Pryor Dodge...has combined what is unquestionably the most finely illustrated history of cycling ever produced with a text which is both erudite and elegant. Dodge not only reminds us of the curious paths and byways the bicycle has travelled down; he points a way forward by documenting the bicycle renaissance of recent years."
• London Review of Books, April 24, 1997:
" The Bicycle is full of delights....adds up to what used to be called a wonder book....close-ups of clean, shining mechanisms can have an elegance all their own..."
• Bicycle Culture 11, York (UK), December 1996:
" This is the most sumptuous book ever on the history of cycling. The author borrows generously from his astonishing collection of historical illustrations: revealing images not previously known even to cycle historians. That so many of them are in colour is particularly delightful. The many finely-lit studio photographs make old, worn machines look truly beautiful, from the pitted and scratched Levocyclette of 1905 on the front cover, to the two-page spreads devoted to a Velocipede pedal detail and to the Simpson lever chain."
• VELO, 1996 Fall/Winter Catalogue:
" This book is nothing short of the finest cycling history/picture book ever published...This book is a treasure for any cycling enthusiast....Outstanding color photographs."
The Oakland Museum, Oakland, California, 1999
2015 La Vuelta a la bici '15, Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City, Mexico
2010 Bicycles and Bloomers: Women's Emancipation and the Bicycle, Coronado Historical Association, Coronado, California
The Bicycle Takes Off 1865–1900, From Boneshaker to Boom
2002 Springfield Science Museum, Springfield, Massachussetts
2001 Queens Hall of Science, (Flushing Meadow) New York City
Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk , Connecticut
2000 Museum of Our National Heritage, Lexington, Massachussetts
Bicycles : History – Beauty – Fantasy
1998 San Diego Historical Society, San Diego, California
1997 The Design Museum, London, England
The Morris Museum, Morristown, New Jersey
1995 The Evansville Museum of Arts & Science, Evansville, Indiana
The Pink Palace Museum, Memphis, Tennessee
The Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, Washington
The San Francisco Airport
1987 The Old Pueblo Museum, Tucson, Arizona
1983 OK Harris Gallery, New York City
Pink Palace Museum, Memphis, Tennessee, 1995
Pryor out for a weekend ride on one of his favorite streets,
Selected Articles:The Daily Beast, September 15, 2014
Some excellent sites for your consideration:
Photographs ©2008 Pryor Dodge. Links to this page are permitted.