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Arti-Facts: Crescent Bicycle, circa 1898
The Green County Historical Museum has an antique single-speed shaft drive (chainless) Crescent No. 11 bicycle which was manufactured by Western Wheel Works in Chicago, Ill. The bicycle features 26-inch wooden wheels which are covered by pneumatic rubber tires with 2-inch wide treads. The tires were manufactured by G & J Tire Co., in Indianapolis, Ind. The leather seat was manufactured by Garford Manufacturing Co., in Elyria, Oh.

Bicycle riding during the 1890s became a very popular leisure activity for men and women. The manufacturer of Crescent Bicycles was the largest in the country. On March 15, 1896, The New York Times reported the following: "The output of the Western Wheel Works, makers of the well-known Crescent bicycles, has generally been understood to be larger than that of any other bicycle manufacturing concern, last year they having made and sold the enormous quantity of 57,000 bicycles, and the Crescent people expect that their 1896 output will exceed that of last year ... on last Thursday morning a special train consisting of 15 large furniture cars loaded with 3,685 Crescent bicycles, started from Chicago ... and will reach the Sixtieth Street freight station of the New-York Central about the middle of the week."

The manufacturer of the tires on this bicycle, G & J Tire Co, also made bicycles in Chicago. The two partners in this company were R. Philip Gormully and Thomas Jeffery. One of the bicycle models made by this company was the Rambler; in 1897 Jeffery built the first Rambler motor car. Jeffery, serious about motor cars, sold his share of the G & J Co. He started to build Rambler cars on an assembly line in Kenosha and by 1905 he was manufacturing several thousand a year. After his death in 1910, his family sold the manufacturing company to Charles Nash, who renamed the company Nash Motors.