Geared Front Driver - Charles Acton Ives Patent 1894

Geared Front Driver 1894

Here is an unusual American Geared Front Driver with a mechanism that was patented by Charles Acton Ives of Newport Rhode Island in 1894. C.A. Ives was a prominent member of Newport society during the Gilded Age. He was an attorney and active in local politics. The bike would have had pneumatic tires but is now fitted with Amish rubber. The only marking is a small stamp that reads "patent" on the mechanism. The bike may be a prototype and is most likely a one off.

Included is an image of C.A. Ives patent, US 516,054, as well as an image of his patent application to the United Kingdom. Perhaps Ives thought that his invention could compete with the then popular Crypto Gear.

Interestingly, I also came across a patent issued to E.R. Corbett, US 501,056, that bears a striking resemblance to the Ives patent. Both patents depict a cycle using a rear drive. The patents are for the hub mechanism not the complete bike. I've included an image of Corbett's patent for comparison.

During my research I came across the obituary of C.A. Ives. It seems as though Ives died while riding his bicycle in 1899 in downtown Newport R.I.

It can be seen here:

Manufacture date: