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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • AUSTRALIA: GREAT BARRIER CORAL REEF

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Board Track: 1925
... mph on the boards and having splinters thrown up by other bikes with such force that they would pierce the protective leather gear. At ... board track When I was a kid, we used to ride our bikes in the woods there. Unfortunately, the current image above does't show ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 09/04/2012 - 6:56pm -

Board Track: 1925

Incognito: 1890
... (the penny) and the little wheel (the farthing). The bikes were mounted via a little step just above the small wheel -- partially ... - the pedals ratchet while coasting, just as most modern bikes do. The small "finger" looking device at the top of the wheel is the ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:26pm -

Incognito: 1890

Rutland: 1904
... the curb. These days it seems, most kids just drop their bikes right outside the front door of whatever store or custard stand they ... They look better than baseball caps. Water Truck and bikes Many of Shorpy's urban scenes show wet streets. I wondered if they ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/14/2012 - 10:23pm -

Rutland: 1904

Childs Restaurant: 1917
... I love the two policemen riding bicycles: police on bikes vanished for many decades only to be recently revived as an effective ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:42pm -

Childs Restaurant: 1917

Vital Foods: 1937
... a Colson or a Huffman Best I can tell. Both of these bikes of this vintage had the radical curve in the twin bars near the seat. ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:35pm -

Vital Foods: 1937

Harley-Davidson: 1925
... Awesome! Great pic Dave. Would love to see their bikes. I don't think 'elf and safety was top priority then. Time Traveler ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/06/2013 - 1:56pm -

Harley-Davidson: 1925

Seabreeze: 1904
... the whole town turned out in their winter finery, riding bikes, carriages or just coming on foot to watch a pig take a swim. Proof ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 05/08/2013 - 5:01pm -

Seabreeze: 1904

Our New Ride: 1921
... full size. On the fringe Looks very close to the bikes we had in the 50's. Just add handle bar fringe and a few playing cards in ... The lady's bike in the window is something to admire too. Bikes were built for transportation back then, not just playing a sport as so ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:38pm -

Our New Ride: 1921

Tashmoo Trippers: 1900
... Detroit. - Dave] Lovely day Great collection of bikes, too. Do you think the group of white-coated boys is a band, or a ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2012 - 10:18pm -

Tashmoo Trippers: 1900

The End of the Innocence: 1941
... spring fork setup used on millions of Schwinns and other bikes over the past hundred-plus years. Still in use. Not unusual. ... least 100 different badges, as Schwinn made private label bikes for hardware stores, tires stores and many other outlets. The model is ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:35pm -

The End of the Innocence: 1941

Stadium Parking: 1942
... Bike Support I love the old-fashioned kickstands on the bikes. Lifts the whole rear wheel off the ground. Better than the ones on newer bikes. Time Machine & the 10th Commandment It's a good thing that ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:33pm -

Stadium Parking: 1942

Over and Under: 1900
... still! The General A picture of the boys and their bikes would be interesting enough but this is an amazing picture. There's ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:44pm -

Over and Under: 1900

Raymond Bykes: 1911
... thing now with the pedals on the curb. For utilitarian bikes kickstands are also back in favor. Bykes? Why do I get the ... to the top tube. Deux Fixies I think both the bikes are fixed gears. Note the lack of rim brakes or a reaction arm for a ... 
 
Posted by Ken - 08/13/2013 - 5:37pm -

Raymond Bykes: 1911

The Summer of '42
... to judge from the license and lack of one on the two bikes. Catching Up Along with some relaxation and lunch, looks like ... Been there Done that! My wife and I used to ride our bikes there and later drive that in the early 60s when we were dating. It was ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:34pm -

The Summer of '42

Birmingham Messenger: 1914
... Lee birmingham messenger interestingly, fixed gear bikes are especially popular among urban bike messengers. fixed gear baby! ... I've been on touring rides where a few of riders had track bikes: they are tough going up hill and scary downhill. A number of years ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:39pm -

Birmingham Messenger: 1914

Motorcycle Mama: 1937
... time or two. What about it? Go Biker Chick!! Most bikes are too tall for the shorter-than-average woman and man even today. I'm ... I think apart from Harley, there are better starter bikes, but if you must have a Harley and you're a newbie, a Sporty is hard to ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/06/2013 - 1:51pm -

Motorcycle Mama: 1937

Our Little Pony: 1938
... I guess "Cleveland" sounded better), advertised their bikes in Europe with marvelous posters showing western themes -- cowboys and, ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:26pm -

Our Little Pony: 1938

Speedy Cyclists: 1913
... in shorts? Fixies These guys were riding fixed gear bikes before it was cool... in fact, it was just about their only choice for ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/23/2013 - 9:36pm -

Speedy Cyclists: 1913

Look, Ma: 1921
... how pedaling energy and speed is affected. Most modern bikes now have a drive sprocket that is several times as big as the driven one. ... for trick riding). Modern "trials" and other trick bikes have the same kind of gearing. About the saddle, which looks rather ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 6:06pm -

Look, Ma: 1921

Cycle Cops: 1918
... golf course in those outfits. I wonder when fenders for bikes appeared. Ooohhhh My legs are itching from the sight of those wool ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:34pm -

Cycle Cops: 1918

Washington Flyer: 1921
... "Hell, give us two legs (each) and a couple of those Tarty bikes, we could do that! And what's with that sissy helmet? And why didn't he ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 6:09pm -

Washington Flyer: 1921

Garter Girls: 1925
... available for the shot. The "step through" frame girl's bikes, once de rigueur for proper young ladies, especially before it became ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 6:31pm -

Garter Girls: 1925

ADT Messengers: 1908
... supporting the hanging sign. No Fenders On those bikes. Trust me: you will get very wet on a street with any amount of water. ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 6:02pm -

ADT Messengers: 1908

All Nite: 1941
... "J. C. Higgins" sometime after WW II. Elgin-labelled bikes were manufactured by Columbia Westfield Mfg, and I've read that there was ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:30pm -

All Nite: 1941

Inflationary Pressure: 1936
... than this kid. I have lived in the far east and have seen bikes like this carry 3-4 people and very, very other heavy cumbersome loads ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:39pm -

Inflationary Pressure: 1936

Percy Neville: 1913
... angle. When you see bars dropped down really low, the bikes were called "scorchers" -- really popular before WWI (possibly later ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 6:11pm -

Percy Neville: 1913

Postal Boys: 1911
... the center bike with the auto horn and spring seat, these bikes look like they had earlier been board track racers. Bare bones frame ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:59pm -

Postal Boys: 1911

TTerrace Terraces: 1979
... in our back yard and we made little trails to ride our bikes to and from the "house." It was nowhere near as big as this, though. It ... 
 
Posted by tterrace - 10/01/2011 - 5:18pm -

TTerrace Terraces: 1979

Sk8r Dude: 1921
... View full size. Cool I like the look of those rad bikes. The Herb and Joe Show I keep coming back to these photos of Herb ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 6:10pm -

Sk8r Dude: 1921

Sidesaddle: 1929
... I saw that spring under her. The back side of these early bikes usually had no suspension. The modern Excelsior plant was just ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/06/2013 - 2:44pm -

Sidesaddle: 1929
 
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