[CR]From freewheel to Cracker Jack


To: CR RENDEZVOUS <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
From: Chuck Schmidt <chuckschmidt@earthlink.net>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 17:46:22 -0700
Subject: [CR]From freewheel to Cracker Jack

From freewheel to Cracker Jack (pieced together from various internet sources):

According to US patents the freewheel appeared for the first time on a bike in 1895.

The term "cracker jack" was originally a slang cyclist term referring to a freewheel with its jacks (pawls) and clicking sound (cracker).

The novelty of being able to coast for the first time lead to cracker jack being an exclaimation used in order to connote excitement, surprise or to describe something that's excellent in 1895.

In 1896, Louis Rueckheim discovers the process for keeping the molasses-covered popcorn morsels from sticking together. Louis gives the treat to a salesman who exclaims, "That's crackerjack!" "So it is," says F.W. Rueckheim, who then has the words trademarked.

Chuck Schmidt
South Pasadena, CA USA