The absence of the chain and the great cleanliness of the chainless make it in every way desirable, and the ideal bicycle for ladies’ use. Each year since the introduction of the Bevel Gear Chainless type, it has become more and more popular with lady riders, and the demand is still very rapidly increasing.
– Crescent Sales Brochure, 1901
Western Wheel Works, makers of Crescent bicycles, started life as the Western Toy Co. Owner Adolph Schoeninger was bankrupted when the Chicago Fire destroyed his toy factory in 1871. But he managed to re-open his business and, by 1889, his toy company had become a bicycle company. By the mid-1890s Western Wheel Works was one of America’s largest cycle manufacturers.
‘The factories of this company contain 25,000 square feet of floor space and employ one thousand men. No less than 25,000 safety bicycles were made and sold in 1891. The facilities of the establishment have been doubled. Among the most popular bicycles manufactured here are the Blackhawk, Crescent No. 2, Escort, Crescent No. 1, Juno, Rob Roy No. 3, Rob Roy No. 2, Rob Roy No. 1. Here are also manufactured the Cinch, Combination Junior, Boy’s Junior and Pet. These machines have a market in every part of the world, and owing to their popularity the export trade is constantly increasing. They are everywhere considered among the most reliable and popular. Some of the makes mentioned have been ridden by champions in prize contests throughout the country.’
In 1900, the company was merged into the American Bicycle Co, and the Chicago factory was sold to Dr William Scholl to manufacture shoes.
As well as promoting the use of the chainless bicycle for female riders, the American Bicycle Co – or ‘The Trust’ as it was more commonly known – also based the design of their Crescent motorcycle on the Crescent female (loop frame) bicycle, adding an extra top tube [Photo below courtesy of Bonhams, who sold the Crescent motorcycle illustrated in 2008 for £19,550 inc premium].
1901 Crescent Ladies’ Bevel-Gear Chainless
Manufactured by Western Wheel Works, Chicago
26″ Wheels with pneumatic 26 x 1 3/8″ Tyres
This rare turn-of-the-centruy chainless bicycle is an older restoration. It’s in good all-round condition, though the paint has chips and scratches.
THE BEVEL-GEAR CHAINLESS
Crescent info thanks to – http://chicagology.com/goldenage/goldenage091/