Hennepin County Library

Sep 29

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Sep 27

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Sep 25

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Sep 23

Still Standing: The Last Streetcar Shelter
Here’s what Star Tribune writer Eric Roper found in his search for Thomassons in the Twin Cities. Thomassons refer to obsolete components of the built environment that are nonetheless maintained. What other Thomassons exist in Minneapolis?

Still Standing: The Last Streetcar Shelter

Here’s what Star Tribune writer Eric Roper found in his search for Thomassons in the Twin Cities. Thomassons refer to obsolete components of the built environment that are nonetheless maintained. What other Thomassons exist in Minneapolis?

Sep 22

One of the First Motorized Tandem Bikes in the City, Circa Early 1900s
Bicycling rose in popularity in the last few decades of the 19th century, leading to many innovations in bike construction. We can see two examples of that innovation here – the extra seat, and the inclusion of a motor. While it is obviously influenced by the design of previous tandem bicycles, calling this a “tandem” might be a bit misleading, since the front passenger here plays no role in powering the bike (note the lack of pedals, brakes, or steering mechanism on the front end). The motor is likely meant to replace the pedaling assistance of the passenger – there are still pedals by the back seat, suggesting the motor plays a supplemental role. This might be thought of as the distant ancestor of the bicycle cabs that still ferry around passengers in Downtown Minneapolis.
The first known example of a functional cycle with more than two wheels was James Starley’s Coventry tricycle, invented in 1876. Starley went on to invent the Salvo quadricycle in 1877, which had two large wheels on either side of the rider’s seat and two small ones to the front and back.  The Salvo was enormously popular with the British upper class – Queen Victoria bought two.
The first tandems appeared in the 1870s, and enjoyed a surge in popularity in the 1890s as designs improved. A large part of the tandem’s appeal was the social aspect – it allowed a man and a woman to share a bicycle ride together. There was some debate, however, about whether the lady should ride in the front (where she would occupy the place of honor) or in the rear (where the man could leap from the front seat and protect her from any danger). Either way, it was a popular courting option, as shown by composer Henry Dacre’s popular song “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built For Two).”
Photograph by Edward A. Bromley, scanned from glass plate negative.
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This post was researched and written by Special Collections intern Helen Walden-Fodge. Helen has been working with several archival collections this summer, including the Bromley glass plate negative collection.

One of the First Motorized Tandem Bikes in the City, Circa Early 1900s

Bicycling rose in popularity in the last few decades of the 19th century, leading to many innovations in bike construction. We can see two examples of that innovation here – the extra seat, and the inclusion of a motor. While it is obviously influenced by the design of previous tandem bicycles, calling this a “tandem” might be a bit misleading, since the front passenger here plays no role in powering the bike (note the lack of pedals, brakes, or steering mechanism on the front end). The motor is likely meant to replace the pedaling assistance of the passenger – there are still pedals by the back seat, suggesting the motor plays a supplemental role. This might be thought of as the distant ancestor of the bicycle cabs that still ferry around passengers in Downtown Minneapolis.

The first known example of a functional cycle with more than two wheels was James Starley’s Coventry tricycle, invented in 1876. Starley went on to invent the Salvo quadricycle in 1877, which had two large wheels on either side of the rider’s seat and two small ones to the front and back.  The Salvo was enormously popular with the British upper class – Queen Victoria bought two.

The first tandems appeared in the 1870s, and enjoyed a surge in popularity in the 1890s as designs improved. A large part of the tandem’s appeal was the social aspect – it allowed a man and a woman to share a bicycle ride together. There was some debate, however, about whether the lady should ride in the front (where she would occupy the place of honor) or in the rear (where the man could leap from the front seat and protect her from any danger). Either way, it was a popular courting option, as shown by composer Henry Dacre’s popular song “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built For Two).”

Photograph by Edward A. Bromley, scanned from glass plate negative.

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This post was researched and written by Special Collections intern Helen Walden-Fodge. Helen has been working with several archival collections this summer, including the Bromley glass plate negative collection.

Sep 19

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Sep 17

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Sep 15

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Sep 14

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