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Stamford Historical Society Photo Archives

A Bicycle Club of High-wheel Wheelmen?

Highwheel bicycles: Wheelmen bicycle club, 1880s - no details available

a tricycleUnfortunately, there is no information with the photo, but most likely it dates back to the 1880s.

High-wheel bicycles were very expensive, see link at right.

The strange contraption at right is a tricycle. According to David Herlihy, an expert on the bicycle, high-wheel tricycles were considered an alternative to the dangerous high mount, but were even more expensive than the high-wheel bicycle.

The Eagle Bicycle Company, organized in 1883 on lower Atlantic Street, built a safety bicycle in Stamford. The company's founder, Leonard B. Gaylor (see club listing below), patented a high-wheel bicycle of an improved design which added a handbrake and placed the small wheel in the front and the large wheel in back, rather than the front, in order to give the rider better balance. However, the ”wheelmen” in the photos shown here display bicycles with the big wheel in front.

We found this one-page document – of an unknown date – which may represent the same group of people:

The Stamford Wheel Club Organized 10 January, 1884
Officers Members
Vice President
1st. Lieutenant
2nd. Lieutenant
E.S. Walsh
L.B. Gaylor
G.S. Benedict
N.R. Jessup
William A. Clark
Joseph P. Blackett
Frank W. Jerman
Edward Jerman
E.S. Friez
Thomas F.P. Paradise
Charles E. Gaylor
Frank Miller
George W. Southwick
Frederick C. Parsons
William N. Travis
George C. Kirk
Frank Pinney
Charles Miller
William A. Hurlbutt
Herbert Weed
Edward Rogers
S. Bernhard
Arthur Munson
Thomas Cummings
George A. McIntyre
Theodore V. Ketcham
Walter Daskam
Warren Ferris
Lady Riders

Mrs. Hort*
Mrs. Jessup
Mrs. H.S. McConkey
Miss Clark

*Editor's note: this may be “Hoyt”

The photo below is labeled “Wheel Club members in front of Wilbur Lewis' drugstore, c. 1882” The uniforms are very similar to the ones in the group photo above. The date given is doubtful, considering the above organizing chart.

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If anyone has information about the Stamford Wheel Club, please e-mail us at or call 203-329-1183.

More on bicycles and tricycles

An Electric Excursion Bus, early 20th Century
Sports in Stamford

Photo Archives