Collection Storage Facility
This Crescent no. 10 bicycle was among the first one hundred artifacts acquired by the Museum after its opening in 1967. Conservators disassembled the bicycle in order to clean and treat its many intricate parts. It was treated for rust and re-greased before being reassembled for display.
“Safety bicycles” like this one were far easier to ride than the high wheelers they replaced, but they were also much more complicated and expensive to build. Western Wheel Works of Chicago, Illinois, the makers of this Crescent no. 10 bicycle, pioneered mass-production techniques using pressed steel instead of forged and machined steel. This process allowed the company to manufacture safety bicycles more quickly and inexpensively.
The development of the safety bicycle, which made it easy for almost anyone to cycle, made cycling very popular in Canada and around the world in the 1890s. The demand for these bicycles was so great that many different manufacturers entered the market. The competition was fierce as makers vied with one another to build the best, most cost-effective bicycles and get them to market as quickly as possible. Western Wheel Works used their metal-pressing techniques to cut costs and increase production, which allowed them to compete with more established makers.