pins and buttons were a popular advertising method in the late 19th century and continued to be such through the
20th century. In the late 1890’s bicycle manufacturers sized on this to promote their bikes. There were numerous
bicycle trade shows in the largest cities of the United States and all the bicycle manufacturers who had booths gave out these
pins and buttons to promote their bikes.
Whitehead & Hoag Co., Newark NJ USA is the company that
made most of them, July of 1896 being the latest patent date on the majority.
The Wheelmen website lists 3150 bicycle manufacturers
from 1890 to 1918. It seems a large portion of those companies gave out these popular promotions and they are eagerly collected
today. Here is just a few that I have collected.
The Columbia pin the left in the
picture below is often found flattened or widened out but this is the correct and original way they were produced. They are
fairly common but this is the only example of the “Columbia Pneumatic” tire pin I have come across.
The Falcon Cycle pin in the middle of
the picture below is actually a cuff link and is ceramic. I have the set of two.