Wheelwomen at Work: Mapping Women’s Involvement in the Nineteenth-Century Bicycle Industry is a digital heritage project which documents the diverse ways American women engaged in the bicycle industry as inventors, factory workers, saleswomen and mechanics from 1889 to 1900.
Sources on women in the bicycle industry are scattered across archives. This disconnect can make it seem as though each individual woman’s contribution to bicycling was an outlining example and not part of a broader trend. Wheelwomen at Work brings together newspaper articles, patents, government documents, and bicycling periodicals to create a more complete understanding of women’s contributions to the nineteenth-century bicycle industry. Wheelwomen at Work brings together conversations in sport history, women’s history and business history with the goal to provide a fresh perspective of women’s everyday lives and achievements in the nineteenth century. Yet, this project is designed for all cycling enthusiasts, scholars and lay riders alike. It ultimately aims to showcase the rich history of women as not simply consumers, but producers of bicycling culture.