Trek 5500 bicycle used by Lance Armstrong in the 2000 Tour de France
metal (part material)
rubber (part material)
overall: 40 in x 18 in x 65 in; 101.6 cm x 45.72 cm x 165.1 cm
Used during certain stages:
2000-07-01 to 2000-07-21
American professional racing cyclist Lance Armstrong (b. 1971) may have written a book called It’s Not About the Bike, but his seven Tour de France victories, now annulled as a result of a 2012 investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), all benefited from increasingly advanced racing bicycles.
For almost a century, race bikes used steel tubing construction. Steel was stiff and durable, but was also relatively heavy. High-quality steel frames without wheels or components weighed around 3.75 to 4.5 lbs. Because a lighter bike has a significant advantage on long climbs in the mountains, bike manufacturers attempted to reduce weight as much as possible. During the 1980s, modern manufacturers began experimenting with lighter and more versatile construction materials such as aluminum alloys, titanium, and most recently, carbon fiber. Armstrong’s, now-voided, first Tour de France victory in 1999 was on a carbon fiber Trek 5500. The 5500 frame was still comparatively heavy by modern standards, weighing around 3.85 lbs. At the time of his second tour attempt in 2000, Armstrong was riding both the 5500 frame, as well as a lighter and more advanced 2.75 lb Trek 5900 frame for the mountain stages. Other weight savings and technological improvements found on both bicycles include a larger 1 1/8” steerer tube, a threadless headset, and 9-speed Shimano Dura Ace components.
Armstrong brought several bikes to the 2000 Tour de France. This particular bicycle was raced on some of the flatter stages, such as Stage 11 from Bagnères-de-Bigorre to Revel in Southwest France, as well as the final stage on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. During the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Armstrong used this bike as a spare, but did not ride it in competition.
1896 Columbia Woman’s Bicycle Embellished by Tiffany
Pope Manufacturing Company
This bicycle is a lavishly decorated example of a common safety bicycle. It is covered with foliage, rosettes, and other organic Art Nouveau-inspired figures made of silver covered with a thin layer of gold. An expensive product for a limited market, it was introduced by Tiffany and Co. for the 1895 holiday season and was available at the height of the bicycle craze of the 1890s. Mary Noble “Mittie” Wiley of Montgomery, Alabama owned this bicycle. Her monogram MNW appears on the front tube in gold with diamonds and emeralds. Wiley was married to Ariosto Appling Wiley, a member of the Alabama House of Representatives and later a Representative in the United States Congress. Despite the couple’s prominent standing in Montgomery and Washington over many years, the circumstances surrounding the acquisition and use of this bicycle are unknown. In 1915, Mittie gave it to her son, Noble, intending that he give it to his daughter, Hulit, when she was old enough to appreciate it. But Noble Wiley became fascinated by the bicycle’s unusual materials, techniques, and history, and he donated it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1950.
H x W x D: 28.5 x 50 x 16 cm (11 1/4 x 19 11/16 x 6 5/16 in.)
Toy and Entertainment
Free State, South Africa
Across Africa, toys are frequently made of wire and other recycled or found materials. Many have moving parts, and all demonstrate an extraordinary imagination. Their linear quality and lively sense of animation have influenced local artists and inspired multiple museum exhibitions. Entertaining toys in the form of sewing machines, bicyclists and figures paddling canoes are proving so popular in some areas that artists now devise easily packable versions for the tourist market.
Primarily correspondence, advertisements, invoices and receipts, price lists, illustrations, catalogs, photographs, patents, trademarks, periodicals, road maps and books from manufacturers and distributors of bicycles and bicycle accessories and supplies; also a considerable amount of material on cyclist shows, clubs, associations and tournaments, as well as material from English manufacturers. The bulk of the material dates from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Bicycles, Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, box ##, folder ###, digital file number ####
Cartoon-like sketch of Otto Bacher and Robert (Bob) Blum riding bicycles. Each man's name is written where the head would be. Very loose pencil sketch on verso of a man's head in profile. Date range based on earliest date of Otto Bacher papers and date of Blum's death.
overall: 2 1/2 in x 1 1/2 in x 6 1/4 in; 6.35 cm x 3.81 cm x 15.875 cm
During the bicycle craze of the 1890s, millions of men and women took advantage of the speed and ease of riding safety bicycles. They explored rural roads, took pleasure rides, commuted to work, and enjoyed the expanded freedom and mobility that bicycles offered compared to trains. Euphoria over biking led to a celebration of the new road culture. Decorated items such as drinking cups, racing medals, and match cases often bore images of bicycles. Confectioners even made candy in the shape of bicycles, complete with tiny handlebars and drive chain.
Outdoor tintype showing three boys on high-wheeled bicycles in a field with buildings visible in the background; corners are clipped.
The NMAH Photo History Collection (PHC) has over 3000 tintype photographs dating from the beginnings of the process in 1856 to the present. ‘Tintype’ was coined and became the favored name.
Tintypes in the PHC are found in albums, the Kaynor Union Case collection and as individual photographs. The original tintype process patent was assigned to William and Peter Neff in 1856. William Neff died a short time later, but his son Peter, who named the process Melainotype, continued on with his work. The earliest tintypes in the PHC are a group of more than thirty Peter Neff Melainotypes, some of which date back to 1856 and contain notes written by Peter Neff. Shortly after the Melainotype, Victor Griswold introduced a very similar process on thinner, lighter iron plates and called them Ferrotypes. The PHC has tintypes ranging from rare large images between 5”x7” and 10”x12”down to small images cut to 6mm diameter to fit jewelry. The Melainotypes are between 1/6 plate and 4”x5” in size and many have indistinct images. There are also unexposed Melainotype plates including a pack of 1/6 plates and large whole-plates with four decorated oval borders that were designed to be cut into smaller quarter plates after exposure.
The great majority of tintype photographs are studio portraits, including the very popular ‘Gem’ size (about ¾” x 1”). Almost every gem tintype in the PHC is an individual head and shoulders portraits, the only exceptions seen being a full length portrait and a head and shoulders portrait of a couple. Most of these gem portraits are in small gem albums designed to hold two to six gems per page. However, several gems are mounted on cartes-de-visite (CDV) size cards and set in specifically designed album pages. Some of these CDV mounted gems are in elaborate miniature frames attached to the card. The tintypes larger than gem size show a greater variety of subject matter, but still with a main focus on individual portraits, this is especially true of the smaller 1/16 and 1/9 plate images. Outdoor tintypes are rare. Of the few in the PHC, the most common outdoor subjects noted are people standing in front of their homes and photographs of people proudly standing with, or sitting on, their horse or horses and buggy. One of the largest tintypes is a 9”x 7” outdoor view of a row of townhouses with a couple standing on one of the balconies. There is also an outdoor tintype of men fishing along with another of their days catch.
One common subject in tintype photography, as noted in text books, is the civil war soldier. The durability of the tintype meant that photographs taken in the field could be sent home. However, this category of tintype is not well represented in the PHC, with less than thirty noted due to the fact that the majority of the Smithsonian’s Civil War tintypes are located mainly in the Military History Collection. Most of the PHC examples of Civil War tintypes are in the Kaynor collection of cased images.
A few of the tintypes in the PHC are hand colored. This coloring varies from light tinting of faces and hands to heavy overpainting that obscures the underlying tintype image. A number of the tintypes (about 30) depict people with the apparatus of their occupations. Some are posed studio shots and others appear to be photographs of people at their place of work. Among the occupational views are images of a doctor, grocery deliveryman, weavers, fireman, ice delivery man, craftsman, cobbler, shoe shiners, mail carrier, surveyor, pipe liners and other tintypes of people wearing work clothes and posing with tools. These include a unique full-length gem tintype of a man in work apron with a saw.
overall: 3/8 in x 1 1/8 in x 1 3/4 in; .9525 cm x 2.8575 cm x 4.445 cm
In the 1890s the growing popularity of safety bicycles, which had smaller wheels than high-wheelers and were easier to ride, led to a social revolution. Women rode safety bicycles for the first time, men and women socialized on wheels, and millions of Americans took to the road for pleasure trips and practical purposes. These developments created a market for biking accessories like this decorative metal match case. The image on the front of the case – a well-dressed man riding in a rural area – exemplified the placid pastime of riding on country roads, a striking contrast to train travel in coal burning, steam-powered trains.