Garford Saddles Bicycle Pin

Description
The Garford Manufacturing Company of Elyria, Ohio produced this souvenir pin for its Garford Saddle around 1896. Arthur Lovett Garford produced bicycle saddles since he founded the company in 1891. His saddle was meant to alleviate the bumps riders experienced on the poor roads of the time, covering the seat with leather padding and adding a spring suspension to the rear of the saddle. The saddle was a huge success, selling half a million saddles a year to bicycle manufacturers during the height of the cycling craze.
Bicycling boomed in popularity in the United States during the 1890s when the invention of the “safety” bicycle replaced the dangerous high-wheeler. The National Cycle Board of Trade held the largest annual exhibitions in New York and Chicago between 1893 and 1897. At these cycle shows manufacturers attempted to capitalize on the bicycle boom with exhibitions of their products to both the public and bicycle agents from other cities. At shows like these, manufacturers advertised their wares with pins and buttons made of tin and celluloid—cheap materials easily mass manufactured into trinkets and souvenirs. The Chicago Tribune’s account of the 1896 Chicago show speaks to the ubiquity of these kind of souvenirs. “Every visitor seems to have a desire to cherish its memory through some kind of a souvenir . . . anyone who does not look like a walking sign board is a rarity and every exhibiter goes after him and every available buttonhole has some kind of button in it, and stick pins are thrust at him from all sides.”
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
pin, lapel
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
celluloid (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 3/4 in; 1.905 cm
ID Number
1990.0294.25
catalog number
1990.0294.25
accession number
1990.0294
subject
Bicycle Pins
Transportation
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Bicycle Pins
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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