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Twitter Tweets of the Nineties

January 25, 2012

Wheelmen (and women) in the 1890’s would have daily deliveries of newspapers to their homes. In Cincinnati there were a number of newspapers; The Enquirer, Times-Star, and Commercial Gazette were the most popular. At some time or another they each had weekly columns giving updates and news of the local wheelmen and clubs.  The Times-Star paper had a Saturday feature called “Music of the Tires” or  “Wheel Whispers” with a column of short 0ne-liner items. These resemble the twitter feed of today: “Bert Tutty says he is troubled with the wheelman’s “grip”, “Kess Smith still possesses his great 64 inch,” “H.O. Barth is a camera fiend,” and “Kess Smith is an expert angler.”  Some jabs at local wheelmen were often printed: “Wyn. Bicknell has made a new record, vis., eating ten chickens at Miamitown dinner. Max Mueller is not far behind him, he having devoured five ducks. These one-liners were then followed by more specific news or announcements for the clubs, such as this one for a former Brighton clubmember: ” Al Smith, a member or the once famous John Barclay Brighton Scorchers, is now in the revenue service in New Orleans. Harry Hodgson says Al is still a good rider.” The Sunday rides were also provided. The trips for June 18, 1892 were the following: “Porkopolis, Milford; Brighton, Windisch farm; Cincinnati, Jones Station; Crescents, Hamilton; Orioles, Brookville; Walnut Hills, Milford; Athletics, Miamitown.”  Some of the “tweets” were very cryptic and can only be guessed at from our perspective today: “H. Cage is the lone wheelman of Camp Washington Ridge,” and “George Eggers holds down Mohawk Bridge.”

The Wheel Notes from the Times-Star on May 30, 1892 announced that the “Brighton Bicycle Club gave a Decoration Day run to Park Place today. It was a complimentary jaunt in honor of six young ladies of Park Place who will shortly remove to Chicago…”

And finally, an anecdote from the “Whirls of the Wheel” from May 16, 1892: “A married man recently purchased a pneumatic safety. On his first ride the tires gradually deflated. He returned it and some repair was made, but on the next excursion his fate was similar. Ultimately…he discovered that his spouse had been pricking the tires with a pin as an effective means of keeping her lord at home.”


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