United States Wheel Bicycle Pin

Description
The Chicago Stamping Company produced this pin advertising their U. S. Wheels Bicycle around 1896. The Chicago Stamping Company manufactured a variety of metal goods and tinware since 1868, beginning production of their wheels and bicycles around 1895. The company manufactured cycles for a few years before the bicycle boom ended and their creditors demanded payment. The company failed in 1898, when it was purchased by a former owner Lee Surges who ran business under his own name.
The metal stickpin is topped by an interlocking “U.S.” with the raised “Best Bike Made” in the center of the “S.”
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
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
celluloid (overall material)
ID Number
1990.0294.30
catalog number
1990.0294.30
accession number
1990.0294
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Bicycle Pins
Transportation
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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