Peoria bicycle travels 200 miles in approximately 117 years

luthy_co_fairyking-15All photos reproduced with permission of Budget Bicycle Center

Of course it’s impossible to say exactly how many miles this Luthy & Co. bicycle traveled in the century following its sale. We know that it was made between 1892 and 1898, according to The Wheelmen’s list of veteran bicycle brands, and that today Budget Bicycle Center of Madison, Wisconsin, lists the frame on its website and eBay.

So it made it 200 miles from Peoria to Madison, though doubtfully under the power of its owner, either original or subsequent.

We also know this was more than just another black bicycle. Note the painterly touches ahead of the collet-style seatpost–just a sample of the artistry in evidence elsewhere.


Also, while most of this bicycle has been lost to time, it retains perhaps its single-most important distinguishing feature, an ornate head badge that reads:



In Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the king of the fairies is Oberon, boss of the error-prone Puck. At the end of the play, Puck, having earlier failed to follow Oberon’s instructions, explains to a pair of lovers the misapplication of a potion:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.

Today, our mechanical Oberon is the boss of no one, and he slumbers 200 miles away from home. If possession by another is what passes for love in these matters, we are left with but one question.

Who will wake the king?

About 16incheswestofpeoria

Former bicycle mechanic, current peruser of books, feeder of birds.
This entry was posted in History, Other bicycles and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Peoria bicycle travels 200 miles in approximately 117 years

  1. Mark Fulton says:

    OK, that is really cool. I’m going down to Madison around Xmas time, and I used to work for Roger at BBC. Wonder if I can talk him into letting me see the thing.

    • If it’s there. After all, it is for sale. If it is, and you think about it, let me know your impressions of it–the joint work, how similar the bottom bracket is to a new one, whatever you find interesting.

  2. Tom says:

    I was the owner of this bicycle before BBC. I purchased It in New York state and took it home with me to Connecticut. I then brought it out to Wisconsin. This bicycle is beautiful with its original headbadge, dark green paint and gold leaf pin striping. I wish I had spent the time to find all the parts!!

    • Thanks for the note. Nice to know those extra steps along the way for the old Peoria bike. Looks like you have a pretty interesting collection yourself. Ever put tires on the child’s wagon converted to two-wheeled trailer? What size would they be, anyhow?

      By the way, I know the bike’s not yours, but that 1910 Pierce Chainless pictured on your site is gorgeous.

  3. Chad says:

    Great post. I’ve been staring at that bike on eBay for months. While I do have an appreciation for old bikes, this one stands out to me because it’s a Luthy. I’ve been researching Luthy and it’s various related companies for years, and have found a few items. Luthy was primarily a farm equipment distributor, although over the years it was involved with a few farm implement manufacturers. I just wish this one had a few other pieces, but I’ve never seen another Luthy “wheel.”

    • It’s been a while since I’ve read up on the Peoria bikes–Luthy, FF Ide, Rouse Hazard–but Luthy as a company was notable for getting out of the 19th century alive, sans bicycles, and Rouse is memorable because its Peoria Heights factory still stands. Ide? You gotta love those crazy curved crank arms, supposedly providing greater leverage under torque. Eventually, I’d like to add some information and pictures on those old brands.

    • Lynda Mpnspn says:

      Well folks, you wouldn’t believe what I have from Luthy and Company. Email me and I will email you some pictures of my Luthy Tandem Bicycle with wooden wheels. Its in BEAUTIFUL condidtion!

  4. Lynda Mpnspn says:

    Oops! It’s Monson NOT Mpnspn I’m out of SLC, Utah

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s