Vintage Bicycle Posters Foreshadow Car Ads
Bicycles have a longer history than cars with some people claiming that one of Leonardo da Vinci’s students actually sketched a device similar to a bicycle in the late 1400s (most historians claim it’s a fraud). But everyone agrees that they were definitely around in the 1820s with much of their early development taking place in France.
More interestingly, many bicycle manufacturers used methods later copied by automakers in order to sell more products. Concepts such as vertical integration (controlling the production process from the refining of the ores used for casting through final sale), planned obsolesce, and consumer advocacy organizations all predate the car and were used to great effect by bike builders.
So too was advertising. In fact, according to some estimates bicycle ads accounted for over ten percent of all advertising in periodicals during the late 1890s. This may be, but much like vintage automotive advertising we can’t help but admire the art, wonderful layouts, and fonts. Below are some great examples of both manufacturers advertising as well as event ads (such as the one for the 1927 Tour de France). Enjoy!