The Monarch Cycle Mfg Co of Chicago was a big-time cycle company with a large advertising budget. Their by-lines included ‘Monarch is King’ or ‘Monarch, King of Bicycles’ or ‘Ride a Monarch & Keep in Front’ and their advertisements were well-designed, often featuring a lion. Their British office was at 37/38 Shoe Lane, London EC4.
They also produced packs of cards, one of which illustrated Lee Richardson, the ‘premier fancy bicyclist of the world’ riding a similar Monarch to the one featured here.
1898 Monarch Defiance
Like most American bicycles of its era, the Monarch was supplied in what we would now describe as ‘path racer’ style. This 120-year-old example is an older restoration, with decent red paintwork and box lining, and original matching pedals. It was originally a wood-wheel machine with single tube tyres and without brakes. It is now fitted with a retro metal wheelset (and normal pneumatic tyres) with a coaster brake for maximum practicality. It’s ready to ride.
MONARCH CYCLE MFG CO
John William Kiser, capitalist and manufacturer, was born at St. Paris, Ohio, 20 June, 1857, the son of George Riley and Margaret Ellen (McVey) Kiser. His father was a farmer and stock raiser, and accumulated over 1,000 acres of rich farm lands before his death. After his preparatory education at the grammar and high schools of St. Paris, he entered Wittenburg College at Springfield, Ohio, where he was graduated B.A., in 1884, with the highest honors.
After leaving college, he had planned to pursue the study of law, but conditions made this impossible, and in 1884 he accepted a position with O. S. Kelly Company, large manufacturers, of Springfield, Ohio, as traveling collector and adjuster of litigated claims. In 1889 he resigned this position and went to Chicago, Ill., became identified with the Chicago Sewing Machine Company, subsequently becoming its manager. Mr. Kiser was practically without funds when arriving in Chicago, but with the energy of a young farmer and the brains of a captain of industry, he took advantage of the opportunities that confronted him and through untiring efforts, within a few years, he had accumulated a large fortune.
Out of the sewing-machine company was evolved the Monarch Cycle Manufacturing Company, which was organized by Mr. Kiser in 1892 with a capitalization of $500,000. He was the president and majority stockholder. He seized the wonderful opportunity offered by the bicycle and made this concern one of the strongest in the field.
In 1899 Mr. Kiser sold the Monarch Cycle Manufacturing Company to the “Bicycle Trust,” and in so doing displayed that fine judgment which has crowned all his business ventures with such phenomenal success, for very shortly the crash came. He saw that the automobile would soon succeed the bicycle in popular esteem and so conserved his resources at the outset.
1890s MONARCH ADVERTISEMENTS
MONARCH PLAYING CARDS
Monarch Cycle Mfg Co info with thanks to – https://chicagology.com/cycling/monarch/
Monarch playing cards – http://www.wopc.co.uk/usa/uspcc/monarch-bicycle