Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Photo - The Dandy Horse

An 1820 Draisine
Today's photo is an 1820 draisine, the forerunner of the bicycle. It was created by Baron Karl Drais and patented in 1818.He called it a Laufmaschine, which is German for "Walking machine." The press called it a "Draisine" after its inventor. It became a bit of a fad in 1819, especially in London. It was popular with dandies, so it became known as a "Dandy horse".

It had two wheels and could be steered with a rudder like mechanism on the front. It did not have pedals, so it basically allowed the user to walk faster. Roads in 1819 were not at all smooth, so users tended to ride them on the sidewalks. After complaints by pedestrians, many cities banned them from sidewalks. It wasn't until around 1860 that someone finally came up with the bright idea of adding pedals.

Here is an interesting 15-minute video that describes the draisine in the first half, and covers bicycle evolution since them in the second half.

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