The Columbia Exposition previewed in 1892 and opened fully in 1893.
Also known as the 1893 World’s Fair, the Exposition, in Chicago, celebrated Columbus’s landfall in 1492, where he discovered America.
Colonel Pope also celebrated the occasion. Having recently purchased some interesting new patents, the 1893 range of Columbia bicycles made their debut with two particular innovations that seem incredible for their age …an elliptical gear (chainwheel) and a band brake.
1893 Columbia ‘Century’ Model 32
28″ Rear Wheel, 30″ Front Wheel
Colonel Pope made a big splash at the 1893 World’s Fair with the state-of-the-art innovations on his latest Columbia ‘Century’ – the Model 32 – which featured an elliptical chainwheel and an optional band brake. (This example has the rear hub that can be converted into to a band brake, though not the fittings).
This machine was more of a design showpiece than a serious move on the bicycle market, and it was current for this year only. The ‘elliptical gear,’ as it was described, was supposed to provide extra impetus in the chainwheel’s motion due to its oval shape. The theory was not proven, but it certainly makes an excellent topic of conversation.
This example is in unrestored original condition, dirty after decades of storage, and without tyres. I have two Model 32 Columbias, the other being restored. So I’ll sell one of them. If this one is not sold by the end of the summer I’ll have time to clean it up and fit tyres.
1893 COLUMBIA CATALOGUE EXTRACTS
Road racers were traditionally stripped of all extras to make the lightest weight. This machine is thus designed with the exception of its band brake.