1898 Children’s Tandem, Very Cool….

With a grateful and sincere Thank You to Peter K. for sending it my way & for allowing me to share it with my readers here at The TandemGeek’s Blog, here is a scanned-image of a photo that depicts Peter’s great-grandmother and her brother on a very small but clearly functional tandem bicycle taken in Copenhagen sometime during March 1898. The details surrounding the subjects and date came from writings on the back of the photo.

Peter wondered if 1898 would have been pretty early for a child-size tandem?

Based on what I’ve learned about tandem history, the timing would have been about right.  More specifically, my take was that by 1898 just about every type and configuration of bicycle had been produced in both Europe and the US… as there were thousands of builders and bicycles were the cutting edge of technology at the time. That someone in Denmark or some other part of Northern Europe fabricated a child-size tandem doesn’t come as a big surprise, but it’s clearly the first one of that vintage that I’ve seen in a photograph!!

If any readers have any further insights into antique tandems built for tandems, here in the US or in Europe please consider adding a note to this blog entry with that information.  I know that Peter would be grateful to learn more about small tandems in Denmark before the turn of the century as would I.

For anyone who would like to get a glimpse into tandem technology of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, you can find several documents on my Website at the following linked article:

Bicycles & Tandems: A Technology Retrospective

I was reading through a number of very old publications dealing with bicycle history, technology, construction, and repair and in doing so, I was once again reminded that with bicycles almost everything old is new again.

I have also come to believe that the discussions we have today regarding bicycles and tandems are also not all that different from the ones enthusiasts would have had over 100 years ago and, with that in mind, I’ve culled a few snippets from some of these old manuscripts to read and ponder.

  • Introduction: The Modern Bicycle and its Accessories, The Commercial Advertiser Assn., 1898
    • A 1898 version of today’s “Buyers Guide”
  • Preface: Bicycle Repairing, By S.D.V. Burr, 1896
    • The value of a quality bicycle and of good mechanics
  • Introduction: Modern Cycles – A Practical Handbook…. By A.J. Wallis-Tayler, C.E., 1897
    • The safety bicycle as a practical, beneficial, and more easily managed machine
  • Bicycles For Two or More Riders: Modern Cycles – A Practical Handbook…. By A.J. Wallis-Tayler, C.E., 1897
    • A comprehensive overview of the state of the art of tandems, circa 1897
  • Tandems & Multicycles: The Modern Bicycle and its Accessories, The Commercial Advertiser Assn., 1898
    • A brief history and overview of tandems as might be seen in today’s Bicycling Magazine, less all of the details.
  • Building Tandem Safeties: Cycle Building and Repairing, Edited by Paul N. Hasluck, 1900
    • A detailed description of how to build a tandem, circa 1900. Just how much as really changed?

About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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