Laufmaschine, Nicknamed the Dandy Horse

Laufmaschine, nicknamed the dandy horse: Karl Drais
Karl Drais, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Karl Drais was a prolific German inventor who invented the Laufmaschine (“running machine”), nicknamed the dandy horse. Later, the Laufmaschine was called the velocipede, draisine (English), or draisienne (French). Drais’s first rode his horseless invention on 12 June 1817. The ride took over an hour, involved a distance of less than 5 miles, and began at Mannheim and ended at a coaching inn named Schwetzinger Relaishaus.

An account of the velocipede and its management was given by Drais and published in 1819. It is provided below (nearly verbatim) and begins with four points related to the machine’s properties: Continue reading

Dalzell’s Machine

Dalzwell's Machine, Author's Collection
Dalzwell’s Machine, Author’s Collection

Although somewhat suspect, Kirkpatrick MacMillan, a Scottish blacksmith, is credited with creating the first mechanically propelled two-wheel vehicle. Several sources give credit to him, including an article by the Bicycling News in 1892. Another Scotsman, Gavin Dalzell, who never claimed to have invented the bicycle seems to have improved upon MacMillan’s idea of the driving gear rod, and history backs his claims. There is evidence that Dalzell used his rear-driven machine to distribute his drapery wares in and around the area of Lesmahagow in 1845. Continue reading