Columbia Bicycle Pin

Description:

This metal stickpin features Columbia’s circle and slash logo with their motto “You See Them Everywhere/Columbia Bicycles.” The Pope Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut produced this souvenir stickpin for its Columbia bicycles around 1896. Albert Pope was a pioneer of American cycling, becoming the first bicycle manufacturer in the United States in 1878. His Columbia bicycle began as a high-wheeler, but the popularity of the safety bicycle led Pope to introduce his own safety in 1888. As the bicycle boom began to subside, Pope shifted his focus towards motorized transport, manufacturing an electric automobile in 1897 and a motorcycle in 1902.

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.”

See more items in: Work and Industry: Transportation, Road, Bicycle Pins, Transportation

Exhibition: Object Project

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1990.0294.19Catalog Number: 1990.0294.19Accession Number: 1990.0294

Object Name: pin, lapel

Physical Description: metal (overall material)celluloid (overall material)Measurements: overall: 3/4 in; 1.905 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a9-cd15-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1140628

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.