Thursday, March 12, 2009

Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and Bicycles Too!

As promised, here's the last part of the transportation trio as echoed in the title of popular movie starring the late John Candy. Subsequently, I realized that it would be proper to include bicycles as well.
The first magazine illustration of a train in an American magazine appeared on the first page of this 1825 issue of American Mechanic's Magazine and seven years later Railroad Journal was the first to be devoted exclusively to the "iron horse" and was still being published as of 1965 as Railway Locomotives and Cars.

American folklore and periodical literature is peppered with railroad references and personna and it is interesting to note that the first pulp fiction magazine devoted to a specialized topic, begun in 1906, was Railroad Man's Magazine.

The word "bicycle" was coined in 1869. Prior to this the two-wheeled contraptions were known as velocipedes. According to Frank Luther Mott, whose authoritarian five volume work on American magazines is the starting point for any serious scholarship on the subject, America's first magazine devoted to the subject was the short-lived Velocipedist in 1869. Thereafter, Scientific American had frequent reports of improvements and news until a flurry of periodicals, beginning with American Bicycling Journal, started in 1877, appeared as the popularity and practicality of device blossomed. Perhaps the most popular and successful was Wheelman. Here is the first issue:

Interestingly, Wheelwoman apperaed shoertly afterwards and this might represent the first specialty magazine ever published in America to target women.

Here are a couple of other rare and interesting bicycle related items I've collected over the years:

For now this post concludes the recent transportation theme. I thought about doing another on ships and boats, but that body of literature is so vast, it will be reserved for a later time.

Bon voyage!

See you again shortly.

No comments: