TOC – The Original Cushion


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fordsnake

I live for the CABE
May 12, 2010
1,832
588
#1
Its interesting to view the plethora of transformations the bicycle has gone through to smooth out the rocky roads of the 1800s and the earlier 1900’s. A time when most American roads were dirt and muddy, connecting to the paved cobbled streets of the major cities. The smooth asphalt roads didn’t come about until the auto age.

There was surge of ideas from inventors for the bike to navigate and maneuver the jarring roads; from cushioned and pneumatic tires, to spring and suspension saddles.

One of the earliest suspensions was an idea from Charles L. Travis, patented July 21, 1896. This device was merely a compressed spring behind the seat post.

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Mr. Travis continued to perfect his design...and a few months later he had employed compressed air with his spring mechanism.

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fordsnake

I live for the CABE
May 12, 2010
1,832
588
#2
The Travis monoshock patent was quickly acquired by the Hygienic Wheel Company. The cushion was featured on several high-grade bikes.

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One of the earliest adopter and an advocate of the cushion bike was George Pierce, he was an evangelist for the manufacturer Hygienic Wheel Co., and praised them whenever asked.
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fordsnake

I live for the CABE
May 12, 2010
1,832
588
#3
Another unique design patent from C.L. Travis was the sandwich leaf spring behind the bottom bracket…it coupled the bracket and the rear fork stay allowing the frame to forgive when riding bumpy roads.

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The Travis shock absorber and sandwich spring was acquired by the Hygienic Wheel Company.

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fordsnake

I live for the CABE
May 12, 2010
1,832
588
#4

The Hygienic Wheel Co., combination of both spring designs was showcased on several high-grade bikes. This Miami Cycle, Flying Merkel featured both designs.


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The Hygienic Wheel Co. was the largest manufacturer of the cushion suspension, they supplied nearly all of the bike makers.
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There were a few copycats that attempted to slice a piece of the pie, infringing on the Travis design.

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The Hygienic Wheel Company eventually became the leader and at the forefront of cushion bikes.

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fordsnake

I live for the CABE
May 12, 2010
1,832
588
#5
Hygienic’s biggest competitor was the Regas Co. owned and operated by J.H.Sager, the founder of the Sager gears, saddles and suspensions (Regas is Sager spelled backwards)

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Sager was fascinated by the spring suspension and developed many patent designs for the bicycles, motorcycle and the automobile.

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In Nov.25 1902, Sager was granted a patent for a clever idea called the “Hinge” a pivot bracket, this reduced the rigidity of the steel frame and allowed the bike more flexibility over the road.

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Fauber began producing the Sager Hinge Bracket.

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fordsnake

I live for the CABE
May 12, 2010
1,832
588
#6
James H. Sager had a penchant for spring suspensions…but no where can I find a patent for a Sager mono-shock behind the seat post?
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Note this Sager Gear mono-shock has no Patent number...it reads Patent Pending! Which leads me to conjecture that perhaps Sager ripped off the Hygienic patent?

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Then I discovered this tidbit, that in 1903 Sager was no longer in business.

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Look who Sager sells his name and patents to!mono-shock

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From the above article, Sager Gear sells the kit & caboodle to George Pierce. It appears that Pierce had a controlling interest in the operation of Hygienic, hence him turning over the Sager deal to Hygienic. Remember George Pierce was enamored with the cushion spring. He was one of the first bike manufacturer to offer the cushion shock and purchased exclusively from Hygienic. George was very business savvy, so is it conceivable that Pierce buys Sager, the name and the patents, so that he could control and monopolized the cushion arena...he allowes Hygienic to continue offering the cushioned shock...but he (Pierce) manufactures and introduces the Sager mono-shock, because Sager was an optimal company and had become synonymous with bicycle fittings, i.e., gears and saddles! This way his competition would unknowingly buy product from Hygienic, thinking they're buying a Sager. And of course Pierce not to be outdone, stamped the Pierce name on the cushion shocks for his bikes. Note the photo below it's a Pierce Hygienic cushion with patents #'s, looks exactly like the Sager that has no patents
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fordsnake

I live for the CABE
May 12, 2010
1,832
588
#7
Of course the conclusion of whether Pierce produced Sager is only conjecture...it's a brilliant business strategy, and I wouldn't put it pass these bicycle moguls, if it did occur? If anyone has any information that contradicts my speculation please share...I'm still investigating it. :confused:;)
 

fordsnake

I live for the CABE
May 12, 2010
1,832
588
#10
I haven't forgot about the front end...it just takes time to pull it together. I should have a compilation this weekend.
 

Wcben

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jan 11, 2012
988
407
Fort Lauderdale, United States
#14
Outstanding research Carlton! The one difference I see at first between the Hygeinic and the Sager is that the Hygeinic top section looks to have a cap that's pinned to the main cover whereas the Sager seems to have been made as a single piece. Also, the Sager was a dual spring, one inside of the other.... Cool to know the histories, I would think that Sager probably made theirs for awhile before the sale.... Further helps to solidify that my Racycle is a 1903!!

Thanks for the research!!
 

filmonger

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Dec 25, 2010
4,868
5,463
Dublin, Ireland
#15
Just Jazz

Man-o-man Carlton - you are a gem! This is sooooo fantastic, informative & very helpful to us all. I have one question though - where did you find the image of the Warwick? I have one and could only find info on her in old wheelman trade rags of the day in the US archives.
 
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