1900′s Iver Johnson Truss Bridge Racer
Trust the truss.
That’s what the Iver Johnson bicycle company wanted you to do in 1904.
Their bridge truss style frame, claimed to be “structurally and mechanically correct in every detail” rode smoothly and had great handling characteristics. The early 1900′s were a time when roads were primarily made of cobblestones, bricks pavers or dirt. A sales pitch that touted reliability and structural strength was probably quite effective.
Research and development in this era may have actually been trial and error. The advertised sales pitch continues talking about the Iver Johnson fork crown with this reassuring line: ”We have not known one to break in the five years that we have used it.”
This top-of-the-line-model, the Truss Bridge Racer, sold for a reasonable $50 in 1904 (which is about $1275 in today’s dollars). That’s complete with carbon fiber wheels (well, wooden rims really were the first carbon fiber, right?)!
There were some star athlete endorsements as well. Marshall “Major” Taylor, a multiple world record holder and the World Sprint Champion in 1899 and 1900, rode an Iver Johnson.