OBJECT HISTORY: The Crab Tree Special

In the 1890s, mass-produced safety bicycles sparked a bicycle craze across Wisconsin. However, despite the lowered costs associated with mass production, not everyone could afford this new luxury. Walter Atkinson of Ellenboro, Wisconsin, was not going to let a $100 price tag deter him from experiencing the liberating power of bicycle transportation. Tapping into the…

OBJECT HISTORY: Sterling Safety Bicycle

What did a bicycle rider in 1890 look for in a new bike? Safety and comfort, of course, but also beautiful construction—many of the same qualities that contemporary bicycle riders also seek. Sterling Bicycle advertisement featuring Annie Oakley on the safety bicycle, 1890s. The bicycle pictured here was donated to the Wisconsin Historical Museum, where it…