Earl Kiser’s Bicycle Racing Medal, 1897

Earl Kiser’s brief career as a bicycle and automobile racer spanned the height of the safety bicycle craze in the 1890s and the proliferation of automobiles and race cars in the first years of the twentieth century. Newspapers and magazines took note of Kiser’s budding career as a bicycle racer and popularized nicknames that reflected his swift rise to fame: the Little Dayton Demon, referring to his hometown of Dayton, Ohio; the Little Wonder; and the Pocket Hercules for his short, muscular physique. In the late 1890s, he competed in bicycle races in many cities and scored first place finishes in some of them. The Associated Cycling Clubs of Philadelphia presented this half-mile championship gold medal to Kiser on August 7, 1897. He drove race cars in the early 1900s and defeated well known drivers such as Barney Oldfield and Louis Chevrolet. Tragically, Kiser had a leg amputated in 1905 after he lost control of a Winton race car and crashed into a fence, crushing his leg between the car seat and a fence post. He sold automobiles for a living in the 1910s and 1920s. Kiser’s widow, Francine Holland, donated this medal to the National Museum of American History in 1991.
Object Name
Kiser, Earl H.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 1 3/4 in; 4.445 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Road Transportation
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Road Transportation
Object Project
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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