A bicycle brake reduces the speed of a bicycle or prevents it from moving.
Read the History section.
The brake is bound to grow in favor. Circumstances during the last few weeks force this conclusion upon the students of the cycle trade. Accidents, several fatal ones among the number, have occurred in the East lately and it has been shown that in each case a brake, had there been one attached, could doubtless have averted the fatality. It now apparently remains for a really clever device to be placed upon the market for it to score a great success. A good brake is really wanted. The cyclists realize it and each day they are becoming more and more convinced of its necessity. An expert rider has said: "If brakes were in universal use the number of accidents would be decreased nearly 50 per cent. Even the dreaded and universally condemned scorcher would not be so terrifying if he had a brake on his wheel. It would be of decided benefit even on level places where a stop could be made quickly. No one needs to be told that it would be a decided advantage on hills.
"The novice, above all others, should not attempt to ride in a hilly country without a brake. The art of back-pedaling is an accomplishment which should be acquired by all, but there are times when even that does not avail. The foot may slip at a critical moment, or any one of a dozen minor accidents happen, which makes it imperative that the speed of the wheel be checked at once. That cannot be done successfully and without risk of injuring the rider or the wheel without a brake, all assertions to the contrary notwithstanding."
Pages which link here: