Technostalgia

Boys’ Life: Just Like Dad’s!

Growing up with an older brother, there were always times when he got to have cool stuff first and got to do cool stuff first, at least from my younger child perception. Sure, he was bigger than me, and that meant he gained the motor skills necessary to ride a bike before I did, but that doesn’t occur much to you when you are 6 or 7. When our time came up in the growth chart, all of us learned to ride on a nice Huffy Laredo with a banana seat. Once we could manage that, sans training wheels, we could move up to a bike of our own. The best part of my brother’s bike, that even the sweet Mongoose I ended up with never had? A speedometer–although it certainly was no Stewart-Warner like the young fellow in this week’s Boys’ Life advertisement, circa 1959.

  • OA5599

    A 0-50 scale on a bike that won't ever exceed 20, and then 0-20 represents maybe 15 degrees of needle travel. It really makes one appreciate 270 degree sweep gauges.

    I wonder if these could be calibrated for different sized tires, or if the kids on small bikes could go a lot "faster" than their older siblings.

    • B72

      You raise a good point. That sweep is awful. I had one of those bikes and I probably had it up to 25 or 30, but only once or twice downhill with a tailwind. Of course I wasn't one of the crazy kids that grabbed on to passing trucks. I'll bet they saw 50.

    • I'm guessing in 1959 all kid's bikes had the same size tires.

      • OA5599

        At the very least, kids had different sized bikes in the 50's, and common rim sizes were 26", 24", 20", etc. Fat tires were available. I suppose Stewart Warner might have made a speedometer for each rim size, and perhaps a fat tire variation for each; I doubt that streamlining inventories was much of a concern at Cunningham Hardware.

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