Genius & Generosity

Genius & Generosity - The Elliott Story

The introductory gallery at the Elliott Museum in Stuart Florida gives a glimpse into the life of Sterling Elliott, who the museum is named after.

Through the exhibition visitors discover Sterling’s early life as an inventor, his combined interests in bicycles and social justice, and the business machine empire that he built with his son Harmon.

Entry to Genius & Generosity exhibit at the Elliott Museum in Stuart Florida.


Shown here is one of Sterling’s early inventions, the knot-tying machine, which was so impressive that Thomas Edison publicly called Sterling a genius! Also shown here is Sterling’s Quadricycle, whose steering mechanism influences automobile engineering and design to this very day.

Entry Long View

A view into the “Genius & Generosity” exhibition.

Harness Racing Sulky

Sterling Elliott was good friends with his neighbors, the Stanley Brothers. Their shared interests and conversations inspired some of Sterling’s inventions, such as the harness racing sulky located in this part of the exhibit. Elliott’s sulky designs changed harness racing completely, and modern harness racing sulkies still reflect the improvements Sterling Elliott developed over a hundred years ago.

Antique Bicycles

Sterling Elliott not only built bicycles, but he also called for social reforms that would secure more rights for women and African-Americans. The Sterling Bicycle Company manufactured bicycles specifically designed for women when other bicycle companies refused to do so. The top two bicycles featured here show design elements built into Elliott bicycles marketed toward women.

Business machines empire part of the Genius & Generosity - The Elliott Story exhibit at the Elliott Museum in Stuart Florida.

Business Machines Empire

The start of the Elliott Addressing Machine Company came about because of Sterling Elliott’s involvement with bicycles. To mail tens of thousands of subscriptions for “The Bicycling World” magazine more efficiently and quickly than writing out every address by hand, Sterling invented one of his first devices for labeling mail that used address stencils that customers could create themselves. During much of the 20th century, the Elliott Addressing Machine Company was one of the most successful businesses of its kind in the entire world

Looking back on the Genius & Generosity Exhibit at the Elliott Museum in Stuart Florida.

Looking Back View

Looking back toward the entrance of the “Genius & Generosity” exhibition.