Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sepia Saturday 138–The Traveling Dentist and His Motorized Bike circa 1917

Sepia Saturday provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.   

Sepia Saturday 138 August 11, 2012

Here he is again, that traveling dentist great-grandpa of mine, Watson Emory (Frederick) Webster.  For those who want to find out why I refer to him as my “Traveling Dentist” great-grandfather, simply click HERE.

Today’s Sepia Saturday prompt featuring bicycles provides the perfect opportunity to share this photograph of my great-grandfather with one of the ways he traveled, his motorized bike.

Frederick Emory Webster and Bike
Watson Emory (Frederick) Webster
Most Likely in Brazil
circa 1917

If you look closely at this photo, you can see his Dental Office sign on the building behind him.


Fred Webster Dentist Sign
Dental Office Sign:
F.E. Webster

Dentista Norte Americano



I believe the three little kids in the doorway are my grandpa Debs (far right front), and his sisters Edna (next to Debs), and Carlota (behind).

Frederick Webster's Children Carlota and Edna and Debs
Most Likely Carlota, Edna and Debs Webster

Also interesting to see is the bike itself. It’s sitting on a triangular bike stand (rear wheel). The motor is visible and if you look closely at the handlebars you can even see a bulb horn. And behind the seat is a small attached bag for carrying various items.

Fred Webster and Bike Kickstand
Kickstand

Fred Webster and Bike Motor
Motor

Fred Webster and Bike Horn
Bulb Horn

Fred Webster and Bike Saddle-Bag
Bike Bag

Now, I don’t know if this bike came motorized or if my great-grandpa added a motor to his regular bike.  In my research for this post, I haven’t been able to find a motorized bike that looks just like this one.  What do you think?  If anyone familiar with historic bikes knows the answer, please share in the comments below.

To see what other Sepia Saturday participants have written this week, cycle on over to Sepia Saturday.


Thanks for reading!



Copyright © Jana Last 2012


Update:  Since publishing this post, my mom emailed me the following interesting note - 
"Dear Jana, 
When we lived in Rio Claro, if memory serves, my father Debs also added a motor to his bicycle and added a wooden seat in front so he could give rides to small children and also to our little dog who loved to ride with dad.  Like father like son in inventing...
Mom"

24 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this information. The detail on the photo was an excellent idea!

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    1. Hello Karen,

      I'm glad you liked the detailed photo enlargments. Thanks so much for reading and for your comments!

      Delete
  2. I always enjoy the stories and pictures of the traveling dentist! He was quite stylish!

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    1. Thanks Kathy! He was an interesting man, who lived an interesting life to be sure.

      Delete
  3. The travelling dentist is certainly providing you with a rich source of sepia materials. I like the three curious barefoot youngsters in the doorway too.

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    1. Yes he is! Thanks great-grandpa! He was definitely a very interesting man for sure.

      Thanks for stopping by Little Nell!

      Delete
  4. The bike suggests that the dentist would come to you rather than the other way around. Speaking of a customer friendly attitude...
    I wonder what the text is underneath "Dentista Norte Americano". It starts with Extra... Unfortunately my Portuguese is not what it used to be :)

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    1. Hello Peter,

      Hmm, I wonder if he did make house calls. That would make for a very interesting story.

      Oh, and I entered the word "extraccoes" in Google Translate and it came up with "extractions." Ouch!

      Thanks so much for reading and for your comments!

      Delete
  5. Never knew a travelling dentist; but why not, the motorized bike was a splendid idea; very enjoyable post.

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    1. Hello Titania,

      Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your kind comments!

      Delete
  6. What an image. I love the treatment you give it, slowly deconstructing it to bring forward all the fascinating component aspects. A kind of photographic anatomy. Lovely.

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    1. Hi Alan,

      I'm glad you enjoyed the photo! Thanks so much for your kind comments too. I really appreciate it very much!

      Delete
  7. Now we know how he traveled - in town, anyway! Judging by his many talents, he probably added that motor himself.

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    1. Hi Wendy,

      You know, I wouldn't be surprised if he did add that motor himself. After all, he was an inventor too right? And it appears my grandpa, his son, inherited some of his creative and handyman talents as well. I seem to recall my grandpa even made some jewelry at one time.

      Delete
  8. Watching Olympic cyclists being led round the track by a motorized bike seemed funny. I can see the point why your travelling dentist used one years ago.

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    1. Hello Bob,

      I wonder if my great-grandpa used his motorized bike for house calls or just to travel around the city.

      Thanks so much for reading and for your comments! I appreciate it!

      Delete
  9. Nice! I love the horn. :-)
    Regards,
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

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    Replies
    1. Hello Theresa! Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Ya, that horn is pretty fun, isn't it!

      Delete
  10. How wonderful to have all of these photos of your grandfather. What a great idea to crop the picture and show various details. My favorite is the sign with his name. How cool that he had a motorized bike.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Queen Bee! I like that sign too. I wonder why he put "Dentista Norte Amreicano" or "North American Dentist" on the sign. Interesting that he made that distinction.

      Delete
  11. This is a wonderful photo, and I also love how you have broken it down in order to see and show us the details. We can learn a lot from paying attention to photos in this way. Well done. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Hi ljhlaura! Thanks so much for your kind comments.

      Delete
  12. Send your photo to the Glenn Curtiss Museum in NY and ask them to identify the bike. I had a similar photo and they helped me to find out more. http://www.glennhcurtissmuseum.org/ Glenn Hammond Curtis started out motorizing bicycles and went on to make motorcycles and aircraft. The museum staff was great!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for this idea Heather! It would be nice to know if Fred purchased the bike as is, or if he modified a regular bike.

      Delete

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