Templar, Chicago. Pneumatic safety 1892-1893

This is a typical safety with straight seat tube. It shows American style in the pneumatic tyres and tangent spokes. It was sold in 2012 on E-bay.com.

Owner claims the bike dates from 1892, this might be correct, but in my opinion 1893-1894 is a better guess. It is a typical safety like all factories built them. But let's be honest: it has a lot of beautiful details, like the lugs and cranks. It's a well designed bike. And best of all: it has a clear head badge and even a down tube transfer, otherwise we would never be able to recognise it as a 'Templar'. But the bike is in nice original shape, although the mudguards are missing.

I tried to find some more information on Templar. It seems to have been a brand name from the VanCamp Hardware & Iron Co. They were a bicycle distributor from Indianapolis, first mentioned in 1894 (source: Collecting and Restoring Antique Bicycles, G. Donald Adams). The Encyclopaedia of Cycle Manufacturers mentions Templar as a brand name introduced in 1894 by William Read & Son, from Boston Massachusetts (makers of the New Mail bicycles).
This is strange, since the transfer on the bike in the pictures tells us it is from Chicago. If I make a wild guess: this bike might be one of the bikes traded by VanCamp and built by one of the big Chicago-based factories.


"By the 1890s, Chicago was the bicycle manufacturing capital of America. Eighty-eight local companies produced nearly two-thirds of the nation’s bicycles. Chicago was home to Century Cycle Manufacturing Company, James Cycle Company, Western Wheel Works, and Sterling Cycle Works. These factories flooded the streets of Chicago with Arrows, B&As, Black Hawks, Cinchs, and Sterlings."
(quote from: http://www.wttw.com/main.taf?p=74,5,1,2)