Frame builders beware. Here is the 1891 ride of your dreams. You just have to make it. First time building a bike? No problem. This serialized article promises to walk you through every step of fabricating and assembling the more than "320 parts, counting the chain as one part." Before you start wringing your hands, let me put forward a modest proposal. Scroll on.
Work covers a number of other fairly awesome topics this issue: "Electro-Gilding" for jewelry, ornamental fretwork for boxes, "Promiscuous Exercises in Chemical Analysis," and decorative glass working for furniture, courtesy of David Denning. Good sense and decorum would have you believe that these articles are written in service of disparate pursuits. To this I say, "hogwash."
Clearly, all of the means, modes, and methods described this week should be directed back toward the construction of an undeniably stellar bicycle. Think about it. I defy the lot of you to show me a steel diamond frame that wouldn't benefit from some exquisite fretwork and a little electro-gilding. Still with me?
There are even a few remarks in "SHOP" that cover enameling and clear coats such as would suffice for cycle frames. Coincidence? I think not. It's springtime in 1891 too you know, and stylish steeds are never out of fashion. Granted, the inclusion of some beveled, decorative glass might be a little imprudent for general pedaling, but with the appropriate gasketing, some anti-vibration mounts, and a reliable pair of safety goggles, most of the risk will be from the seething jealousy of onlookers. Ride safe! -TIM
Disclaimer: Articles in Work: The Illustrated Weekly Journal for Mechanics describe materials and methods that would not be considered safe or advisable today. We are not responsible for the content of these magazines, and cannot take any responsibility for anyone attempting projects or procedures described therein.
The first issue of Work was published on March 23rd, 1889. The goal of this project is to release digital copies of the individual issues starting on the same date in 2012, effectively republishing the materials 123 years to the day from their original release.
The original printing was on thin, inexpensive paper. There are many cases of uneven inking and bleed-through from the page behind. Our copies of Work come from bound library volumes of these issues and are subject to unfavorable trimming, missing covers, etc. To minimize harm to these fragile volumes, we've undertaken the task of scanning the books ourselves. We do considerable post processing of the scans to make them clear but please bear with us if a margin is clipped too close, or a few words are unreadable. We would like to thank James Vasile and Karl Fogel for their help in supplying us with a book scanner and generally enabling this project to get off the ground.
You are welcome to download, print, and pretty much do what you want with the scan for your own personal purposes. Feel free to post a link or a copy on your blog or website. All we ask is a link back to the original project and this blog. We are not answering requests for commercial downloads or reprinting at this time.