Cycling History

Cycling Patents of Yesteryear: No. 2 – Ruffhead and Scheer’s Adjustable Bicycle Parasol, 1896

Contemporary Western ideals of female beauty among the middle and upper classes during the nineteenth century called for a fair complexion. Unlike today’s preference for a healthy glow, whether acquired naturally or not, tanned faces were seen as a mark of the working woman who could not afford to live a leisurely life in the drawing rooms and parlours of the well-to-do. Changing fashions for smaller hats and the decline of bonnet wearing among younger women after the 1860’s led to the widespread adoption of the parasol as an accessory and means of protection from the sun. Cycling, by its very nature as an outdoor activity, exposed women to the elements, risking their delicate complexions and in 1896 Fred C. Ruffhead and Emil J. Scheer of Rochester, Monroe County, New York, came up with their idea for a bicycle parasol and support which was registered with the U.S. Patent Office as patent number US555025A.

Their invention had as its object “to provide a parasol or umbrella which can be readily attached to and detached from the bicycle-frame, which is adapted for use on various kinds of bicycles or tricycles, and which may be readily adjusted both vertically and horizontally, so as to most effectually shade the rider of the vehicle.” The parasol could also be detached and carried in the hand like any normal parasol and could be folded and strapped to the bicycle when not in use.

The parasol handle itself consisted of three telescopic sections while an array of clamps, hinges, and brackets provided the means of mounting the parasol to the frame of the bicycle and for making vertical and horizontal adjustment to offer the optimal level of shade to a rider of any height. For those unlucky enough not to possess an adjustable parasol Ruffhead and Scheer kindly offered a modification which would hold any parasol in a clamp attached to the head tube.

While solving the problem of carrying a parasol in one hand while steering with the other, the invention wasn’t exactly aerodynamic and windy conditions must have affected handling a touch negatively. Having an upright metal pole slap bang in the middle of the rider’s line of sight was probably not a great idea either.

Ruffhead and Scheer’s Adjustable Bicycle Parasol, 1896

Ruffhead and Scheer's modified parasol support for non-adjustable parasols

Ruffhead and Scheer’s modified parasol support for non-adjustable parasols

The inventors signatures

The inventors signatures

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

arcaderagedotco.wordpress.com/

Comics on video games, movies and pop culture.

Brew City Sports Report

The Microbrewery Of Wisconsin Sports Talk

Defence-In-Depth

Research from the Defence Studies Department, King's College London

La Velocipedienne

bicycles, fashion, feminism

Coeur de vélo

Cycling and a Love of Bikes : Vancouver, BC

Susan Barsy

The New Jeffersonian

Maxine Dodd: Racing lines

Fast drawings with a few words...

fatbeardedandtattooedcyclist's Blog

A great WordPress.com site

Cycle Write Blog

My words, visions & trivia along the way

Cycling in a skirt

One life, some bicycles. A million possibilities, zero clue!

I Do Not Despair

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

PedalWORKS

Speed is relative. Victory is fleeting. But the ride lasts forever.

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

heritagelandscapecreativity

Exploring Time Travel of Place

ThorNews

Supplier of Norwegian Culture

Cycling Love

Sharing my love for cycling and bicycles

The Victorian Cyclist

A history blog on the joys and perils of cycling in Victorian Britain

cyclefucius

Zen and the art of uphill cycling - next stop, the top!

historywithatwist

Celebrating unusual history

Rhyl History Club

- a little look at the history of Rhyl

mikeaztec

Musings on current events and some of my recent works on medieval and late Roman history

The History of the Byzantine Empire

Over a thousand years of glory !

Bible on Tap

Theology, Philosophy, Culture, History, Poetry, & Beer.

SeanMunger.com

Official site of author and historian Sean Munger.

1870 to 1918

From empire to cataclysm

Rearview Mirror

Music, Film, Art, History and more....

Yesterday Unhinged

The Flotsam & Jetsam of Yesterday

Cooking Without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

%d bloggers like this: