For a few brief decades of human history, just before combustion engines and motorcycles and cars burst onto the scene, the bicycle was the most advanced personal land vehicle around. They were wonders of technology and personal style—as these beautiful ads show.

As Gizmodo continues its Bike Month coverage, take a second to imagine what life was like in a time when the bike was the epitome of technological progress—here are 29 ads for long-list bikes, from the stylish, to the curvy, to the sometimes crazy.

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Victor, Victoria bicycles. Overman Wheel Co., 1896. Artist: Will Bradley.

Source: Library Of Congress


Orient cycles lead the leaders. Waltham M'f'g' Co., c1890. Artist: Edward Penfield.

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Source: Library Of Congress


DĂ©esse bicycle, Paris, c1890. Artist: Jean de Paleologue.

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Source: Library Of Congress


Ride a Stearns and be content / J. Ottmann Lith. Co., Puck Bld'g, N.Y., 1896. Artist: Edward Penfield.

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Source: Library Of Congress


Victor Bicycles Overman Wheel Co., 1896. Artist: Will Bradley.

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Source: Library Of Congress


Dayton cycles, France, c1898. Artist: Henry Thiriet.

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Source: Los Angeles County Museum of Art


Waverley cycles, Paris, 1898. Artist: Alphonse Mucha.

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Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


The Prudent buyer selects the Shirk, the latest, neatest, and lightest bicycle in the world / Ottman, Chic., c1890. Artist: unknown.

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Source: Library Of Congress


Cycles Clément, Paris, 1898. Artist: Jean de Paleologue.

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Source: Library Of Congress


Cycles Humber, 1890. Artist: Alfred Choubrac.

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Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


Gladiator cycles, 1880. Artist: unknown.

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Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


Townsend's Limited Cycles. Redditch. England. 1890. Artist: unknown.

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Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


Papillon bicycle by the Société française pour la construction de cycles, 1890. Artist: A. Bonnard.

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Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


American Crescent cycles, 1899. Artist: T. Ramsdell.

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Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


Cycles Decauville, Paris, 1895. Artist: Alfred Choubrac.

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Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


Clément cycles, Paris, 1890. Artist: George Moore.

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Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


Brillant Cycles, 1900. Artist: Raymond Tournon.

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Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


Peugeot, c1880. Artist: Francisco Tamagno.

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Source: Les Silos Médiathèque


Clément, 1896. Artist: Lucien Baylac.

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Source: Les Silos Médiathèque


Cycles Gladiator, c1880. Artist: Unknown.

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Source: Les Silos Médiathèque


Clément, 1896. Artist: Unknown.

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Source: Les Silos Médiathèque


Clément, c1880. Artist: Jean de Paléologue.

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Source: Les Silos Médiathèque


Delizy and Poiret bikes, 1890. Artist: Unknown.

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Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


Le Cyclone, 1892. Artist: Unknown.

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Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


Howe bicycles and tricycles, 1895. Artist: Unknown.

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Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


Cycles de luxe and chainless cycles, 1897. Artist: Unknown.

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Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


Cycles Papillon, c1880. Artist: Certhus.

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Source: Les Silos Médiathèque


Cycles Peugeot, 1895. Artist: Ernest Vulliemin.

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Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France


Cycles Perfecta. 1902. Artist: Alphonse Mucha.

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Source: photobucket/muchacompleteworks