|Since '11...That's 1911!|
It keeps the wheels of the industry greased, as we all grudgingly will admit. We deride that this is how it is and yet, much to our own chagrin, we still run out and buy whatever the "shiny object" is that you can not live without. Weird, isn't it?
You know what is even weirder? That we still use chains, ball bearings, and leather saddles with steel undercarriages that were all developed in the 19th Century. Stuff that, as in the case of Brooks saddles, has not significantly changed in the way that it is made for a century. Why? Because those dudes had it dialed so tight back then, it can't be outdone. That's why.
Cycling was the cutting edge of all technology back then, and many words have been offered up on that subject, but I'll say one thing: I cease to be amazed whenever I look at my employer's engineering book for cycling dated 1897. I tried to wade through a chapter about wheel size once. Talk about pencil necked geekage! My eyes glazed over after only a paragraph into it, and don't even try to get me to explain the math I saw in that book. Let's just say I am a very poor man in terms of "math wealth" and leave it at that!
The point is, the engineering muscle aimed squarely at cycling back then will likely never be duplicated. The fine tuning of basic machines and principals of bicycling were all done back in the late 19th/early 20th Century, and the result is that some of these things will never be perfected, and for sure never bested. Like The Chain, (as I have written about here so many times), or Brooks saddles, as shown above. Not that folks don't keep trying, but I just don't see it happening anytime soon.
And that's why sometimes "old" technology is still "cutting edges" today.