Let your Christmas present be as generous as the promptings of your heart;
As liberal as your purse.
What can prove more valuable than a present of health, happiness and long life,
Such as goes with a high grade bicycle?
Everybody knows ‘Victor’ means ‘best.’
– Overman Wheel Co: ‘Victors make the Pace’
The bicycle industry was the first major industry in the world to generate such an enormous income from the public. It predated, and paved the way for, the automobile industry, which learned and applied its methods. Probably a good comparison today, in terms of the volume of advertising, would be the record industry or the car industry. And, in terms of an industry that is comparatively new today, we might compare the computer industry.
The Overman and Pope cycle companies were the American market leaders, and the most profuse in their advertising. Compare them, for example, to today’s market leaders in computers, Microsoft and Apple. Overman and Pope were constantly at each others’ throats, litigating and counter-litigating, spying on each others’ factories, and trying to outdo each other in production, quality, price and advertising.
When an intelligent man wants to buy a bicycle he goes to those who have made cycle making a scientific study, and whose years of solid experience entitle him to expect THE BEST in every respect. For ten years we have been building high grade cycles called ‘VICTORS.’ It goes without contradiction that they have always ranked with the very best – a leader of leaders. Always abreast of the times. Always in the lead. ‘Victors make the pace.’
In the end, such intense competition from both the top end of the American market and the bottom, with 300 companies vying for a slice of this booming business – and also dubious inflated stock market flotations – resulted in a bicycle industry market crash. Many cycle manufacturers were bankrupted. Overman was the largest, folding in 1898.
The legacy it leaves for us over a century later is some very well-made bicycles and fabulous posters and adverts. This page is dedicated to both.
1893 Overman Victor Flyer
Original Victor Road Tires
and Victoria ‘No 24’ Bell
This fabulous Victorian machine has been sympathetically restored. The frame has been painted, but everything else has been left untouched in order to preserve its originality and its patina.
As I mentioned on another page, compared to the heavy ‘upsloper’ safety bikes made in Great Britain and France at the same time, the light weight of these American frames is very impressive. Columbia and Victor perfected the technique of lightweight frame construction, which is what kept them ahead of the pack in the competitive bicycle industry.
OVERMAN WHEEL COMPANY
VICTOR SINGLE TUBE ROAD TYRE
BROOKS SAFETY BIKE SADDLE
with SADDLE-MOUNTED TOOLBAG
& VICTOR PATENT SPRING SADDLE POST
A REVIEW OF THE YEAR’S TOP BICYCLES
1885 OVERMAN BICYCLE WHISTLE
The rattle of this safety bicycle as it speeds along the road is reminiscent of an old goods train. The Victoria bell is actually from an Ordinary (Penny Farthing) as it gives a continuous ring, and the Overman bicycle whistle is also from the Ordinary era, before safety bikes, with its patent date of 30th June 1885.
With a blow on the whistle as you ride, you could start your own orchestra…
OVERMAN VICTOR ADVERTS