|Why not ball-shaped handgrips? And check out that comfy looking seat.|
I came to this conclusion while touring the fascinating Elliott Museum in Stuart, Fla. The museum is housed in a spacious new building with plenty of room for its impressive collection of automobiles, baseball memorabilia, Chris Craft speed boats, Evinrude outboard motors, and dresses worn by movie actress Frances Langford.
The diversity of items, from a wedding dress worn by five brides to a voting machine used in the "hanging chad" Florida election debacle of 2000 — and even a few very special motorcycles — might seem confusing.
|Hand brake rod disappears into the frame tube, then emerges behind the fender to press a shoe directly on the tread of the rear tire. It's not clear to me how the handlebars can still rotate.|
The museum houses an example of Sterling Elliott's 1890 quadricycle, with its non-turning front axle (Patent No. 442,663) that would be critical to the modern automobile. Its knuckle joints freed the car from the horse-cart-style front axle that swung the front wheels around a fixed center point.
The ground breaking quadricycle also featured toe-in for the front wheels, a differential rear axle, four-wheel independent suspension and self-equalizing brakes.
|Another disappearing act on this 1904 Indian; throttle connection to twist grip emerges from the handlebar, then travels through two U-joints to reach the motor. It belonged to Harmon Elliott.|
What I found fascinating about the old bicycles on display was the workmanship and clever solutions to problems that might seem incidental, such as seating comfort and convenient braking.
|Handgrips that really ARE grips on this penny farthing.|
These things look more like patent models than vehicles you'd take out on the road.
|Step-through for ladies. Note the rear fender functions as seat post!|
|Sensational remote bulb horn on Model T Runabout. The sign begs museum goers |
not to succumb to temptation to blow it.