One-gear bicycle with pink and white steel frame, white leather seat, chrome handlebars, and two rubber wheels. Pink head-light attached to front mudguard. Yellow decal reading Starlet with shooting star on bar by the pedals, decal reading Schwinn on main body.
This bicycle was designed and produced in 1955 by Arnold, Schwinn and Co. It was given as a first communion gift to Susan Joan Brongiel in May 1956, who later donated it to the Chicago Historical Society.
Schwinn is the recognizable brand of this bicycle; the model "Starlet"was marketed specifically for girls. The colors of this bicycle were described by the Schwinn catalog as "Summer Cloud White" and "Holiday Rose."
In the 1890s, mass production had made bicycles affordable for the middle class and they quickly became enormously popular. In this decade, Chicago became known as "the bicycle-building capital of America" as the city and the surrounding area produced about two-thirds of America's bicycles. Arnold, Schwinn & Co. was founded in 1895 by German immigrant Ignaz Schwinn and meatpacker Adolph to capitalize on the bicycle craze. "Schwinn" distinguished themselves through the invention of the balloon tire in 1933, and development of children's bicycles with heavy-duty frames, like this one, when adults' attention turned to the new automobile.