Saturday, November 22, 2008

Eli Bowen & Charles Tripp

This is one of my favorite photographs: Charles Tripp (1855-1930), billed as the "Armless Wonder," did the pedaling and Eli Bowen (1844-1924), legless acrobat, steered. These two performers did not ride as a regular habit, but grabbed the tandem bicycle in an inspired moment of self-promotion:

Pairing an armless man with a legless one was surely a stroke of showman brilliance but it was a moment of jovial playfulness that would cement Tripp and Bowen into history. While the pair posed for promotional photographs one of them spotted a tandem bicycle. In no time at all the two gents not only mounted the bicycle-built-for-two, but rode off together laughing as boys would. The photographer quickly snapped the pair mid-ride and the resulting surreal photograph still draws perplexed smiles.
The quote and photos from J. Tithonus Pednaud's The Human Marvels, which I found (and subscribed to) this morning.

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