Latimer Brothers Bike
In 1897, two inventive brothers based in Huntley developed a new type of bicycle they believed would revolutionize the industry. The Latimer brothers owned and operated a mill along today’s Mill Street, east of the present-day Route 47.
But the brothers had other, more creative ideas.
Frank Latimer designed a new type of velocipede that he felt was much more economical, efficient and safe. The bike was rear-driver, with pedals moving in an up and down motion, as opposed to the common forward circular rotation. The brothers held three patents pertaining to their bicycle: one for the bicycle itself (1897), one for the pneumatic bicycle tire (1898) and one for the bicycle wheel (1899).
The Latimers tried to raise $5,000 from Huntley residents to build a larger factory to produce their new bicycle, but there is no record that such was ever achieved. The new velocipede apparently never gained popularity and the Latimers eventually sold their factory and moved west, where they died penniless.
Only two Latimer bicycles are known still to be in existence, one in a private collection in Huntley, and a second in a museum in The Netherlands.