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Inventors Bicycle History

Bicycle ridersBy Mary Bellis

Engraving: Bicycle riders circa 1869

Bicycle History in Debate
Some history books will state that Pierre and Ernest Michaux, the French father and son team of carriage-makers, invented the first bicycle during the 1860s. Historians now disagree and there is evidence that the bicycle is older than that. However, historians do agree that Ernest Michaux did invent the modern bicycle pedal and cranks in 1861.

Baron Karl Drais von Sauerbronn - Early Bicycles
The German Baron Karl Drais von Sauerbronn invented the "Laufmaschine" or "Running Machine", a type of pre-bicycle. The steerable Laufmaschine was made entirely of wood and had no pedals; a rider would push his/her feet against the ground to make the machine go forward. Sauerbronn's bicycle was first exhibited in Paris on April 6, 1818. The celerifere was another similar early bicycle precursor invented in 1790 by Frenchmen, Comte Mede de Sivrac, however, it had no steering. 

Penny Farthing
The Penny Farthing is also referred to as the 'High' or 'Ordinary' bicycle, and the first one was invented in 1871 by British engineer, James Starley. The Penny Farthing came after the development of the 'Hobbyhorse', and the French 'Velocipede' or 'Boneshaker', all versions of early bikes. However, the Penny Farthing was the first really efficient bicycle, consisting of a small rear wheel and large front wheel pivoting on a simple tubular frame with tires of rubber.

Pedaling History
The history of bikes from The Burgwardt Bicycle Museum - History Section.

History of the Bicycle
The name 'bicycle' dates from 1869. Various precursors of this machine were known as 'velocipedes', a French name dating from the late 18th century.

Bicycle Museum of America
View all the historical models in their collection, with a photo and paragraph on each model.

History of the Bicycle
The history of bicycles is very fuzzy. Sources often disagree as to the names of the inventors and the dates of their inventions. Leonardo DaVinci sketched a facsimile of the modern bicycle in 1490, which never left the drawing board.

Bicycle History
In 1817, among the forests near central Germany a new kind of bike was created by Baron Karl von Drais.

The First Hundred Years of Bicycles
In 1818, Baron von Drais introduced a machine to the public in Paris. It had two in-line wheels connected by a wooden frame. The rider sat astride and pushed it along with his feet, while steering the front wheel.

Bicycle Pedal History Timeline
In 1855 Ernest Michaux added crank treadles to a velocipede (round shafts).

The Rover Cycle - The Tricycle
In 1877 John Starley and William Sutton formed a company to build bicycles, for people to 'rove" around the countryside.

bicycle basket patentPatent Drawing: Certain's patent for a parcel carrier for bicycles

Bicycle Trivia
African American inventor Jerry M. Certain patented a parcel carrier for bicycles, on December the 26th, 1899 (U.S. Patent #639,708 )

Matthew A. Cherry
M. A. Cherry developed two devices that would one day evolve into very useful items for transportation. The first device was a velocipede (bicycle) the second was a street car fender.

Penny Farthing
A Penny farthing is a bicycle that was developed between 1870 and 1878.

Bike enthusiasts tune into the world of modern bicycling, with About's own guide to Biking, Kevin H. Weiss.

Related Information
Sports History
Sporting Goods Innovations

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