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   xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Nov 4 11:32 PM

November 5th, 2015: Wiley’s Bling Bike

For Christmas in 1895, Ariosto Appling Wiley, a Lawyer, Legal Advisor & Chief of Staff to Gen Wood in the Spanish American War, and US Representative from Alabama, gave his wife, Mary Noble Wiley, a bicycle.
A Columbia Ladies “Safety” Bicycle, built by Pope Manufacturing in Hartford, CT, as a special promotional model with a nickel plated steel frame, was a limited edition to draw showroom traffic, priced at $500, which would be $14,286 today.

.........

From Pope it went to Tiffany & Co in NY… you may have heard of them. It was decorated with floral and filigree designs in sterling silver covered with a thin layer of gold. The handlebars given ivory grips with silver bands and gold embossed designs. Also, a lamp of sterling silver with a rock crystal lens, Bird’s Eye Maple rims, and a thread chain guard. The crowning touch was the initials MNW were monogrammed onto the front tube in gold and studded with 12 small diamonds and eight small emeralds.
I’ll bet Mary didn’t have a headache that night.

............
The bike was passed to Mary’s son, Noble Wiley, in 1915, who packed it away in a special trunk for his then infant daughter. Unfortunately, over the years some of the gold had been polished away exposing the silver, which corroded, while in the trunk, from sulfurous fumes emitted by the original tires.
The Smithsonian has cleaned it up for display.

I'd like to know what Ariosto paid for the $500 bike after Tiffany put the bling on?



glatt  Thursday Nov 5 08:17 AM

Pretty amazing. Kind of like the Victoria's Secret jewelry bra in its stupid excess, but since it's old, it seems more sophisticated and less dumb somehow.



Gravdigr  Thursday Nov 5 03:22 PM

I'm digging that front brake.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 5 03:47 PM

Yeah, it means giving up the front fender, but I guess she wouldn't be riding in sloppy weather. They could have mounted the front fender higher and had the brake go through it, but back then I don't think fenders were all that common anyway. They were still in transition from the high wheelers.



Sundae  Saturday Nov 7 10:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt View Post
Pretty amazing. Kind of like the Victoria's Secret jewelry bra in its stupid excess, but since it's old, it seems more sophisticated and less dumb somehow.
If I get a blinged up Victoria's Secret bra, you are NOT telling me it's stupid *.
It's beautiful. The bike I mean

* ETA Yeah okay I looked them up, the excess is stupid
I'd rather take my parents on holiday


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