1894 Columbia ‘Model 34’ (Duplex frame)

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The Columbia Exposition previewed in 1892 and opened fully in 1893. Also known as the 1893 World’s Fair, the Exposition, in Chicago, celebrated Columbus’s landfall in 1492.

Colonel Pope also celebrated the occasion. Having recently purchased some interesting new patents, the 1893 range of Columbia bicycles made their debut with many innovations. At a time when fixed wheel bicycles did not have brakes, Columbia bicycles had a variety of braking options, including band brakes, rear brakes and front brakes. The ‘Model 34’ of 1894, featured here, has a lever-operated front brake that pivots at the fork crown onto the tyre.

1894 Columbia Model 34

Duplex frame

20″ Frame

28″ Wheels with Tubeless Tyres

Columbia named pedals and saddle

1894’s Columbia ‘Model 34’ had a new frame with a top tube that did not slope upwards as much as the previous year’s models. The front pivoting brake was a novel feature (compare the illustration below).

This example is in good all-round condition, requiring some work to put it on the road. I’m busy at the moment working on other bicycles, so I’ll advertise it as you see here to give an enthusiast a chance to buy this rare early machine at a cheaper price and do the work themselves. If it has not sold by the time it has progressed to the front of my workshop queue, I’ll finish it off myself and increase the sale price. These are the jobs required –

1. Though rideable, my first step would be to replace the tubeless tyres with ‘green tyres’ which are cushion tyres. I have a pair of these to include with the sale. The front wheel has 28 spoke holes, which means it’s an original Columbia rim and hub, as is the rear.

2. I’d have a brake lever fabricated and add a linkage to operate the pivoting front paddle brake. The linkage travels down the left side of the steering head, as you can see in a close up photo of the brake further down the page.

I probably would not paint it. This model is a lightweight safety bicycle that’s enjoyable to ride.