On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
The Spacelander is a marvel of postwar biomorphic design. Its curving lines and amoeba-like voids represent the mutation of the prewar streamlined style into a new expression based on organic, rather than machine-made, forms. Although the prototype—made for a 1946 exhibition of British industrial design—was a critical success, Benjamin Bowden failed in his attempts to have it manufactured. By the time it finally went into production in the United States in 1960, tastes had changed and the price of the bicycle—$89.50—was too high. It is believed that only about five hundred examples were ever sold, making it one of the rarest and most sought-after industrial designs of the mid-twentieth century. When new, this bicycle was bright red; the color has faded over time.
Fiberglass, metal, glass, rubber, fox fur
Prototype designed 1946; Manufactured 1960
44 x 77 x 32 in. (111.8 x 195.6 x 81.3 cm) (show scale)
On shaped metal tag on frame beneath handlebars: "BOW / DEN".
On metal tag behind seat: "BOMARD INDUSTRIES, INC. / KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI / U.S.PAT.NO. 2,537,325 / Canadian Pat. No. 1951 / SERIAL NO. [engraved] B009905"
Marie Bernice Bitzer Fund
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Benjamin G. Bowden (American, born England 1907-1998). Spacelander Bicycle, Prototype designed 1946; Manufactured 1960. Fiberglass, metal, glass, rubber, fox fur, 44 x 77 x 32 in. (111.8 x 195.6 x 81.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Marie Bernice Bitzer Fund, 2001.36. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2001.36_SL1.jpg)
overall, 2001.36_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Two wheeled, single-speed "Spacelander" bicycle; streamlined reddish-pink molded fiberglass shell with metal frame. Fiberglass constructed in multiple pieces: two over front wheel, two over remainder of frame with openings for handlebars, seat, pedals and rear wheel. Molded cover has pairs of front and rear cone-shaped head and tail lights. Irregular, organic-shaped openings expose front and rear wheels and area beneath the seat. Trimmed with chromed metal or stainless steel over the seams of fiberglass shell. White plastic handle grips, black and white seat and whitewall tires. (Seat and pedals probably not original.)
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.