The Wood Brothers of 594 & 596 Broadway New York City were one of the finest builders of carriages in the 19th century. Fredrick Wood was a personal friend of circus entrepreneur P.T. Barnum. President Abraham Lincoln visited the Fredrick Woods family mansion in 1860. A group of N.Y. merchants presented Lincoln with a custom Barouche for his second inauguration in 1864. The Wood Brothers, like other carriage makers, were quick to enter the Velocipede trade in 1868/69. Like the carriages they built, they also produced some of the finest velocipedes . This velo is representative of a top of the line model and retailed at the time for $165. Ivory grips, silver plated accents, gold lining, a fender and lamp bracket compliment this velocipede.
Bicycle racing was one of the most popular forms of sport during the heyday of the Ordinary bicycle. The Springfield track in Springfield Massachusetts would typically draw 10,000 spectators for its annual meet! Like today,the bicycles were built of the finest and lightest materials and were the focus of the latest technological advances. Well publicized wins on the track would translate to sales at the dealerships. The racing men and women were national heroes.
In 1886 W.A. Rowe achieved the one hour track record of 22 miles 150 yards upon a 55 inch Columbia racing ordinary bicycle. This record stood until 2019 !!!
John Keen was born at Broadway, in Worcestershire,England on February 25th 1849. In his day Keen was perhaps the best known bicyclist, professional or amateur,in the world. He began his career building and racing his own velocipedes in 1869.
This velocipede was likely ordered by the Hanlon Brothers, a traveling Acrobatic Troupe, in the early Summer of 1868 . It was built by the carriage firm of Calvin Witty, Brooklyn New York, and based upon the Nov. 20 ,1866 Lallement patent drawing .