1881/85, Smith Machine Co., STAR model lever, USA
Patented in 1880, the STAR safety bicycle was put into production in the spring of 1881 by Smith Machine Co. from Smithville, New Jersey.
The STAR name derives from the double star made by the spokes on the early models; the vehicle has a big rear wheel and a small front wheel to guarantee a higher safety and limit the risk of falling off (something common with the high wheelers).
Hence the “safety” name, that combined with the performance made it successful. The Star was the first American safety bicycle and maybe the only bicycle innovation provided by the US.
The anecdotes report that for its “safety”, it was considered a valid vehicle for the most extravagant challenges, such as going down the stairs of the Washington Capitol Building di Washington, or playing polo!
The original lever system guaranteed a fast acceleration, an interesting characteristic for customers with racing desires.
- Spoon brake on the rear wheel
- Lever propulsion
- Handmade forged frame