Narragansett Machine Co. Standard Bicycle Trainer

Manufactured by Narragansett Machine Company of Providence, R.I. around the turn of the twentieth century, this pair of stationary exercise bikes are relics of the “bike boom” that swept the country in the 1890s. Each bike connects to a color-coordinated hand on the nearly 4-foot diameter dial measuring distance; the first rider to cover the four laps equaling one mile was the winner of bragging rights and, it is easy to imagine, a friendly wager or two. Retailing for $200 at a time when the average wage in the United States was 22 cents per hour, these trainers were most likely to be found in private or institutional gyms, such as YMCA or university facilities.