Here we see a wonderful portrait of a Berlin father and son out for a bicycle ride. He boy wears a Norfolk knickers suit with a flat cap and his father is equally well dressed with a bowler hat. We thought this wonderfully shows the family relationship between father and son. Unfortunately we have no indormation about the photograph. Bicycles were expensive at the time. This and the way the two are dressed suggests to us that the family is a prosperos middle-class family. It is interesting to see how the two dressed for their bycycle ride. We wonder if this was for the photograph or the way they normally dressed.
Here we see a wonderful portrait of a Berlin father and son out for a bicycle ride in the countryside, presumably around Berlin. It looks to have been taken somwehere at some distance from the city in the countryside. Noticing the trail they are riding on, it does not even look like a city park, but rather a location out in the country.
When we first saw it we thought it was a family snapshot, probably with a postcard back. Then we noticed that it was a cabinebnt card taken by a Berlin studio photographer. The perfection of the pose certainly suggests a professional photgrapher took it. This confuses us somewhat. Studio cabinent cards were almost always as one might imagine taken in a photographic studio. This one was not. The background is no studio bavkdrop. We assumes that means that the father must have engaged the photographer for a shoot out in the country. Perhaps HBC readers might have some other take on this. One of our readers writes, "Surely outdoor shots by studio photographers are more rare than indoor but they were done. I also have outdoor pictures mounted on cardboard. You can find beautiful bicycle pictures on Roger Vaughan's homepage".
This portrait is undated, but we can date it with a fair degree of accuracy with clues provided in the imagery and the fact that is a cabinent portrait. At first we guessed that it was taken about 1910. We are virtually certain it was taken before the war because steel and especially rubber were critical materials that were in short supply because of the war effort. Rubber in particular was hard to obtain because of the British naval blockade. Then we noticed that this was a cabinent card portrait taken by (but not in) a Berlin studio. Cabinent cards were still common in the 1900s, but were much less common in the 1910s. Thus we are inclined to date this portrait perhaps a littler earlier, probably some time between 1905-10.
We thought this wonderfully shows the family relationship between father and son. The boy looks to be about 10-11 years old. Unfortunately we have no indormation about the photograph. Bicycles were expensive at the time. A working-class father might have one to travel to work, but it is unlikely that he could afford onr for his son. This and the way the two are dressed suggests to us that the family is a prosperos middle-class family. Even more so the fact that the father coud engage a photographer for an outdoor shoot suggests that the family was aflluent. We also wonder just how often the two went biking together. The boy looks comfortable on his bike. Farher looks, however, rather stiff to us, suggesting that he did not spend a lot of time on the bike with his son. Also if they biked a lot gogether, wouldn't they have had more appropriate clothing. If he got up any speed, wouldn't that bowler hat have gone flying in the wind. Notice that the bikes have no chain guards. This meant that long pants like father is weating could easily get snarled up in the chain. It looks like he may have used some kind of garter to buch of his trouser legs at the calf. But surely if he biked a lot he would have had appropriate clothing.
One of the reasons we found this image interesting is the father-son pose. We do not note a lot of similar poses in the late-19th and ealy 20th century. Most of the images with bicycles and children are individual shots or sibling shots. Thus we are left with the question, how common was it for father and son or mother and daughter to go biking like yhis together. Here we wonder not only about Germany, but other countries as well.
He boy wears a Norfolk knickers suit with a flat cap. The Norfolk suit and flat cap were wudely worn by German boys in the early 20th century. HBC has devreloped some information about Norfolk suits in Germany. Also notice the Eton collar and floppy bow. Ar first we thought the Eton collar was more of a British style, but as we have worked on Germany we have been finding nore Gwrman boys also wearing Eton collars. The boy's father is equally well dressed with a bowler hat and suit. Also notice the handle-bar mustavhe, rather like the Kaiser at the time. Germans call the bowler hat Melone or Bowler, usually these words are not used combined with Hut (hat). It is interesting to see how the two dressed for their bycycle ride. We wonder if this was for the photograph or the way they normally dressed.
Bikes were originally developed for adults, but by the late-19th century versions appeared for children. Boys in
particular liked to be photographed with their bikes. Thus many photographs exist of boys in casual clothes with their
bikes. Early photographs, however, are staged shots, some times with the boys wearing their sunday best suits.
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