1896 Wolff-American Duplex

1896 Wolff-American Duplex


Wolff-American Duplex - a sociable tandem.

The side-by-side tandem is one of the most interesting bicycle frame variations, introduced originally (and patented) by Punnett Cycle Mfg Co in America in 1896. A similar machine was designed and sold by Wolff-American the following year. Rudge-Whitworth made a similar machine in England, though very few were sold.

This was the heyday of the ‘courting tandem’ when, for the first time, young men and women were able to go off together socially, leaving their chaperone behind. Other tandems of the era required the woman to sit at the front, with the steering controlled by the man seated behind; so the side-by-side concept was seen as a very practical novelty.

The idea died out after the turn of the century, as passenger trailers, and then sidecars, were introduced, for the motorcycles (‘motor-bicycles’) that came onto the market. But the idea was resurrected in Australia in the 1930s by the innovative cycle builder Bruce Small, of Malvern Star. And a few builders since have made a similar side-by-side style of tandem as a tricycle, with two wheels behind for added stability.

Also pictured here is a WWII era side by side motorcycle. Similar concept where the two riders sat side by side. We're not sure if this is Russian or German.


First Place Vintage bicycle at Laytonsville Cruise In September

Top 5 Bicycle award and Peoples Choice award at Simple Transport Show

Also pictured here are 2 bicycles that have 2 front wheels and both are used for steering. This are not part of the TWA collection. The blue one is a 1940s Warrick and the red one is a custom made/modified 1960s Moulton.

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Wolff-American Duplex - a sociable tandem
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