1890s Cameras & Cycling

1896 Justin Spitfire Safety Bicycle fitted with Kodak No 2 Bullet ‘Model of 1896’

When the cycle paths lie deep with snow; when the steed of steel has been carefully put away for the season, when the leafless trees bow before the wintry blast and the night wind whistles weirdly in the chimney till its moan dies away in a ghostly cadence – ’tis then that the cycler in his cozy corner by the fire lives over again his pleasant days awheel.








This 1896 Justin Spitfire Safety Bicycle has been set up with a Cycle Kodak kit.


The case is installed behind the saddle, and the tripod fits between the straps of the toolbag mounted on the crossbar.


They can both be removed easily, though it’s interesting to note that in these early years of photography, before Kodak invented the pocket camera, users did not expect to be able to respond instantly to a photo opportunity.


Unfortunately, film for this camera is no longer produced, so the camera canĀ  not be used. Nevertheless, the view through the viewfinder is evocative of faded 19th century photographs.





These photos were taken on Madeira Terrace. Madeira Terrace is a mid-level walkway above the arches, as shown in the 1900 photo above. You can also see the Madeira Cliff Lift. Before its construction in the 1890s, the terrace was at ground level (below).





To see more of this bicycle at

the oldbike museum




Photos of Madeira Terrace thanks to Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder, 1990 – http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page_id__5681.aspx