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|>. 3^oJ(l, 



i0to id Italie sn)r foto to isie tjum. 




BY "VBLOX/^ >p^ f^*" 





V\. vTo'td, 


LOirpoir, w 0. 






TTTHETHER velocipedes are only the 
** toy of the hour," or are destined 

j^ to become a permanent adjunct to our 

^ civilization and every-day hfe or not, no 

one can doubt their extending popularity, 

or that there exists a widespread desire 

to know how to use, and the best form 

of construction for, the new wheel-horse 


of the period. 



The desire to possess a pedo- or manu- 
motive carriage is not new. Even the 
two-wheeled velocipede is half a century- 
old, and the journals of the mechanical 
arts record a thousand and one ingenious 
contrivances of springs, sails, wheels, 
pedals, and cogs to annihilate space in the 
ante-railway era. Many of these ideas are 
now being reproduced as original, though 
long ago they were tried and found 
wanting in some material point. Their 
ingenuity is unquestioned, their utility 
doubtful. They could not accomplish, 
with their plethora of mechanical con- 
trivances, what the new-fashioned bicycle 
and tricycle do by the most simple 
and direct means. 


Time alone can tell whether the newer 
fashion will share the fate of the old ; 
for, after all, more depends on the road 
than on the vehicle. 

This little manual does not pretend to 
record all the vagaries enrolled in the 
Patent OflBce, but it embraces all the 
salient practical points of the history of 
velocipedes. The most remarkable in- 
ventions are pointed out, as well as the 
causes of failure, when they can be as- 
certained. The reader will find well- 
authenticated facts, mechanical principles, 
and the practical experience of myself 
and others, set forth clearly and pre- 

Eeferenoe has been made in the 


following pages to the Itepertory of Arts^ 
Magazine of Science^ Mechanics* Maga^ 
zine, the Patent Journals ^ the Engineer, 
English Mechanic, the Scientific American, 
Harper* s Weekly, L^Univers Illustre, and 
other serials. I have also to thank 
several gentlemen for permission to use 
their drawings, and for the valuable 
hints they have supplied to me, 


Leamington, 17th April, 1869, 






THE ROCHELLB VELOCIPEDE {Illustrated) ... 25 

THE C^Ll^RIFilRE 27 

THE HOBBT-HORSB (lUvstrated) 30 



GOHPBRTz's VELOCIPEDE (Illustrated) 36 








THE BICYCLE (BliLstrated) 51 


THE PARISIAN BICYCLE (Illustrated) 53 


THE HANLON (lUustroted) 55 




GERMAN TRICYCLE (Illustrated) page 60 

THE ELTRiA TRICYCLE (Illustrated) 62 

THE WILMINGTON TRICYCLE (Illustrated) ... 63 

THE ladies' ENGLISH TRICYCLE (Illustrated) . . 66 

THE ladies' PARISIAN TRICYCLE (Illustrated) . 67 


THE DUBLIN FOUR-WHBELBR (Illustrated) ... 73 
THE DUBLIN VELOCIPEDE (Illustrated) .... 72 



THE MOUNT (lUustroted) 80 

THE START — ^JUST OFF (UlustrcUed) 81 

PREPARING TO GO DOWN HILL (Illustrated) . . 83 











THE child's velocipede 113 







Wheeled chariots may claim a high antiquity. 
When the Pyramids were young the chariots of 
Pharaoh were in existence, and we can trace 
them through each successive wave of civil- 
ization. We know that our ancestors were 
acquainted with their use prior to the Boman 
invasion. Like the coach, they were of rude 
workmanship ; but the mind that designed and 
constructed them probably dreamed of some 
mode of dispensing with the cattle necessary 
to move them. Even then canoes moved on 
the face of the waters and ships on the sea; 
and it is more than probable that a similar 
motive power was looked for on land. The 


conditions were, however, unfavourable, and 
the thought, if entertained, was abandoned. 
The go-cart of our childhood is not a modern 
idea, but it is the germ of the velocipede. The 
primitive idea was hardly improved upon until 
our own day. The ^^ go-cart^' supported the 
body, and the feet of the child suppUed the 
motive power : the modern bicycle does no 
more. The power is differently applied, it is 
true, but the general principle remains the 
same. That velocipede is the best and most la 
favour which, with the least expenditure of 
power, attains the greatest speed by the action 
of the feet alone. The various forms which 
have been tried to accomplish this, the diverse 
means employed, and the mechanical aids 
suggested, form an amusing chapter of the 
history of invention. 

Whether velocipedes will ever become a 
necessity of our civilization — ^the '^ fast ^' ad- 
junct to our ^^fast^' age — it is impossible to 
say, though appearances would warrant such a 


prediction. There are enthusiasts who see in 
a bicycle the solution of some gnarled social 
problem, and believe that a tricycle will obviate 
some festering evil of our era, though at present 
the popular toy of the hour only flatters our 
pride by giving power over space; and there 
are those who sneer at the new-fangled car- 
riages, and point out that similar machines 
have been tried before, and, for practical use, 
have been found wofuUy wanting. They pre- 
dict ruptures, sprains, dislocation, and death as 
the penalty of using these mechanical con- 
trivances. They point out that they are exces- 
sively laborious to work, that there are a 
thousand abstract arguments to prove why they 
cannot succeed ; yet, while they are proving the 
negative, the velocipedes are positively to be 
found in our streets by hundreds, and our 
gymnasiums and riding-schools are thronged 
by anxious learners and expectant possessors of 
the new iron horse and carriage combined. 
If the velocipedes of to-day were of the same 


construction as those which belonged to the 
past^ no reasonable individual could deny that 
their use involved danger and fatigue, without 
any compensation whatever to repay in any 
adequate sense the labour involved, for those 
who tried them found that, though they suc- 
ceeded in a cei*tain sense, success was achieved 
•at such an expenditure that it was compared to 
employing an elephant to draw a wheelbarrow. 
The modem principle was present in the old 
"hobby,'^ or, as it was sometimes called, the 
" dandy '^ horse, but the power was misapplied, , 
and consequently wasted ; hence the failure and 
abandonment of the idea of making the veloci- 
pedes either popular or permanently useful. 
The shaking, squealing three or four-wheel 
spasmodic machines were discarded, and placed 
in the same category as flying-machines and 
perpetual motion. 

It would be almost useless now to attempt 
to demonstrate mathematically the exact gain 
or waste of power which velocipedes give or 


consume. It makes very little difference to a 
good walker whether the road is of gravel, 
smooth pavement, or an average macadamized 
road; but in a wheeled carriage the difference 
is much greater. The loss of power in walking 
is calculated at five per cent, between walking 
on a pavement and a gravel road, and forty-five 
per cent, in the case of a two-wheeled carriage. 
On bad roads velocipedes are at their minimum 
advantage. On smooth roads they are pleasant, 
useful, and capable of performing all that enthu- 
siasts claim for them. There is little doubt they 
will remain permanently amongst our institutions, 
for they supply a want and meet the requirements 
of a large section of the people. 

Their advantages may be briefly stated. They 
enable individuals to travel faster and greater 
distances with a less expenditure of vital force 
than by walking, provided the machine is as 
light and simple in its construction as pos- 
sible, so that waste may be reduced to a 
minimum. Some of the objectors to velocipedes 


on abstract grounds base their arguments on 
the assumption that when a man walks he 
economizes his power to the utmost ; and where 
the ground is rough and uneven^ or in the 
ascent of a steep hill^ probably this is so; 
but on level ground, or in descending inclines, 
there is greater waste of force in proportion 
to the progress. Every time the foot touches 
the earth there is waste. When we walk, the 
body moves in a succession of waves, which 
may be observed when a body of drilled men 
march together. If we could move forward 
in a straight line, we should save this loss; 
and. this the velocipedists say they do. They 
also affirm that there is a large expenditure 
of power in supporting the body in walking, 
so that a small portion only is lefb for actual 
propulsion, " whilst in travelling on a velocipede 
the man is supported . by wheels, and he can 
exert the whole of his power in propelling.'' 
There is much reason in this, and the expe« 
rience of velocipedists confirms the theory. 



They urge that when velocipedes were intro- 
duced a generation ago^ it was the fashion to 
decry muscular exertion, and to elevate mental 
improvement, until our clerks and shopkeepers 
were pale and indolent dyspeptics instead of 
vigorous and healthy members of the human 
family. If the velocipede only popularize 
bodily exercise among the sedentary class, no 
. one will affirm that their mission is a fruit- 
> less one. 

The power and advantages of velocipedes 
have been well advocated during the past year 
in the scientific periodicals, and some of the 
'arguments are interesting. Thus one gentle- 
jman points out that " walking requires . a 
tractive force equal to l-13th of the man's 
weight. A wheeled vehicle on a gravel road 
(which is one of the worst) requires l-16th 
of the gross weight; on a well-macadamized 
.road about l-40th; on the best London pave- 
j|Cnent l-70th; on well-laid flagstones l-180th; 
and on a railway l-224th. If we take a man's 



expenditure of force in rowing or working a 
velocipede as equal to 53 foot pounds per 
second, and 30 miles equal to a day's walking; 
we shall find that a man weighing 150 pounds 
on a velocipede weighing 80 pounds (and we 
should remember that the weight of the best 
bicycles does not exceed 56 pounds) will 
travel on a road where the traction is l-40th 
from 50 to 60 miles easier than he will walk 
30, even if he uses a four-wheeler. On the best 
London pavement he might travel 90 to 100 
miles, and on a railroad about 270 miles a 

Doubtless there will be many scoffers a^ the 
idea of a man being his own horse, and at self- 
propulsion generally. I will give the following 
problem, which appeared in the Mechanic^ 
Magazine as far back as 1831 : — 

^'How can a man without touching the 
ground, or having any lever or instrument in 
his hands or elsewhere, wheel himself up the 
steepest road in the kingdom in a eommon 



wheelbarrow ? " There is no trickery in the 
thing. ^^Let a man take a common wheel- 
barrow, without addition of any kind, having 
on ordinary-sized wheel of eighteen or twenty 
inches diameter, and (as very steep ground 
may not be near) let a square bar, of one inch 
thick, be put before the wheel under it upon 
hard level ground, which will be equivalent to 
a hill rising more than one in three; then 
let him mount the barrow, and without his 
touching the ground, cause it to wheel, with 
him in it, over the bar.^^ This is how it is 
done, and. solves the problem of self-propul- 
siou under very difficult circumstances. ^^A 
medium effect will be produced by sitting on 
the foreboard of the barrow, with the wheel 
between the legs, and pushing the wheel round 
with the hands. But as the problem is a 
maximum, it can only be solved by standing 
astride on the side bars of the barrow, a little 
in advance of the axle, with the face towards 
the barrow, laying hold of the wheel by its 

B 2 



felloes^ and pulling, or rather throwing, all the 
weight of the body backward, which will draw 
the wheel and all with it over the bar/' When 
this is possible, velocipedists need not despair, 
for they can do more than this with their im- 
proved bicycles if they practise and persevere. 






( 23 ) 



/ ( 



Until the past few months it was always 
understood that velocipedes were invented about 
the year 1819, but recently one daring writer 
has asserted that the idea was coeval with the 
invention of the crank, which, after all, gives 
no higher antiquity, for, strange to say, the 
simplest of all inventions for turning a vertical 
into a rotary motion is not so old as the 
century. The Parisians, who have the honour 
of resuscitating and making velocipedes fashion- 
able, and yet popular, claim the honour also 
of its invention. They point to the Journal 
de Paris of July 27, 1779, which describes a 


vehicle invented by the celebrated aeronaut 
M. Blanchard in connection with M. Masurier. 
As far as can be judged from the description, 
this machine was a combination of the hobby- 
horse and trolly : one man was seated in front, 
and acted as driver or guide, whilst another 
supplied the motive power by pressing his 
feet alternately on the ground. This indi- 
vidual must have had a hard time of it, for 
it was found exhausting work to move the 
old velocipedes by the same means, though 
the weight could not have been more than a 
third of M. Blanchard^s machine and driver. 
It is thought (for there is little known posi- 
tively on the subject) that the manual power 
was aided by some mechanical contrivances, of 
which springs formed a part. This invention 
was exhibited both at Paris and Versailles, 
but it does not appear to have met with either 
royal or popular favour. 

I have a drawing of a velocipede invented 
by M. Eichard, a physician of Rochelle, which 



appears to have much in common with M. 
Blanchard's contrivance. It has a canopy fop 
the driverj or rather for the eteerer, whilst 
the motive power is supplied hy a servant 
standing behind (Fig. 1). 


is useless, for we have fortnnately the diagram 
of tlie power employed, wliich is worthy of 
note, for it shows one of the namerons plans 
used to obtain a circular motion without using 
a crank. 


Thus A A are the two hind wheels of the 
velocipede connected together by the axle BB. 
On the axle are two toothed wheels C G, and 
by the outer side of are two crooke^ 
arms DD moving freely on the axle as on a^ 
centre. At the elbow they have a detent tooth\ 


attached^ which catches the teeth of the wheels 
C G alternately^ as the treadles E E are raised 
or depressed^ by means of a cord FF, which 
is tied to the end of the treadles^ and passes 
over the pulley G, which is fastened to the 
back of the carriage and moves freely on its 
axis ; as one treadle is depressed by the weight 
of the foot, the other is raised. The weight 
of the man acting on the pedal and elbow 
causes the wheel C to revolve, and with it 
the axle and driving-wheels A. This action 
reversed and repeated causes the carriage to 
move slowly along. Speed with such a machine 
was out of the question. The vis inertice of 
such a machine, on roads ignorant of McAdam, 
must have sorely taxed the strength and 
patience of M. Richard's unfortunate servants. 
A generation labor the ceUrifere made its 
appearance in the gardens of the Luxembourg ; 
but, from the caricatures, it was evidently but 
a clumsy variation of the old hobby-horse, 
with its low wheels and rupture-producing 




movements. We, who are familiar with the 
controlling power and automatic movements 
of the modern bicycle, can hardly realize the 
formidable difficulties of this unmanageable and 
barbarous contrivance. It was propelled by 
the action of the feet on the ground; there 
were no means of guiding, controlling, or 
directing its movements ; whilst an unfortunate 
slip or false movement resulted in painful 

Whether M. Niepce, for whom the inven- 
tion of photography is claimed, ever saw the 
wonderful celeHfere, or only the many carica- 
tures to which it gave birth, will probably 
never be known ; but if we may judge from 
the extracts of letters addressed to him by 
his brother Claudelle, then residing at Ham- 
mersmith, and lately published in the Monieur 
do la Photographie, Nicephore Niepce must 
have succeeded in making a passable veloci- 
pede, which, judging from the first letter, 
dated November 19, 1818, was propelled by 


the action of the feet on the ground in the 
same manner as the dandy-horse ; but the 
practical mind of the writer pointed out that 
its utility would be in a great measure con- 
fined to those parts where the roads were 
kept in good order. The second letter is dated 
on the 21st of December the same year, and 
alludes to the probable sale and popularity of 
them in England; and the third letter, dated 
the 24th August, 1819, alludes to the fact of 
their being in England, but the writer's means 
would not permit him to purchase one, even if 
he was not afraid of the raillery of his friends 
in Hammersmith. 

This brings us to the regular historic period 
of the introduction of velocipedes. Amongst 
those which were then introduced was the fol- 
lowing, sketched more than thirty years ago. 
It was rude and primitive in consliruction 
(Kg. 3). 

A velocipede somewhat similar in construc- 
tion was brought regularly into Northampton 


market from Yardley Hastings until a few 
years ago ; but it was fancifully ornamented with 
gnarled pieces of wood in the form of serpents, 
snakes, and animals; and one yet remains 
in the little village of Harpole, near 
Weedon, in the same county. The use of 
this macliiiie caused a tendency to ruptnre, 
and, as accidents were frequent, it became 
neglected, and has long since been disused. 
It comes nearer to the '^ Dandy - horse " 
(Pig. 4) — ^the well-known velocipede of fifty 
years since. 

A reference to the old French patent lists 
shows that on the 17th of February, 1818, 
one Louis Joseph Dineur, residing at No. 47, 
Quai de PHorloge, Paris, acting for Baron von 
Drais, of Mannheim, secured a patent for five 
years, for a "machine dite velocipede,^' which 
is thus described : — " Pour une machine appelj^e 
velocipede form^e d*un si%e port^ sur deux 
roues, qui ob^issent facilement aux movemens 
des pieds d'une personne assise sur le si%e ei^ 


qui ^ansporteut cette pereonne avec grande 
vitesBe. Aa Sieur Dineur," 

Fig. 4.— DiNDI-HonSE. 

This machine was patented in England by 
Denis Jolmson, coachmaker^ of J5j Long Acre, 



in December^ 1818^ and was evideni^ a 
'^ communication from abroad/' It is described 
in a contemporary newspaper in these terms : — 

''A OuEious Invention. — • In Ackerman's 
Magazine for this month (Feb.^ 1819) is an 
accoant of a machine denominated the pedes- 
trian hobby-horse, invented by a Baron von 
Drais, a gentleman at the court of the Grand 

Duke of Baden, and which has been intro- 
duced into this country by a tradesinan in 

Long Acre. The principle of this invention is 

taken from the art of skating, and consists in 

the simple idea of a seat upon two wheels, 

propelled by the feet acting upon the ground. 

The riding-seat, or saddle, is fixed on a perch 

upon two double-shod wheels running after 

each other, so that they can go upon the 

footways. To preserve the balance, a small 

board, covered and stuffed, is placed before, 

on which the arms are laid, and in front of 

which is a little guiding-pole, which is held 



in the hand to direct the route. The swift- 
ness with which a person well practised can 
travel is almost beyond belief— eight, nine, and 
even ten poiiles may, it is asserted, be passed 
over within the hour on good level ground. 
The machine, it is conjectured, will answer 
well for messengers, and even for long journeys ; 
it does not weigh more than 50 pounds, and 
may be made with travelling pockets.^ 


A reference to Ackerman's Magazine gives 
us some additional particulars. The Baron, it 
appears, had previously invented a self-pro- 
polling carriage, but the labour of working it 
led to its disuse. On the dandy-horse, called, 
we learn, Draisena in Paris, and Drais Lcmf" 
mashin by his countrymen, ''the Baron tra- 
velled from Mannheim to the Swiss relay houses 
and back again, a distance of four hours' 
journey by the posts, in one short hour, and 
he has lately, with the improved machine> 
ascended the steep hill from Gernsbach tg 


Baden^ which generally requires two hours^ 
in about an hoor^ and convinced a nmnber of 
amateurs assembled on the occasion^ of the 
great swiftness of this very interesting species 
of carriage/^ The price, we are told, was 
from £8 to £10. Its appearance is accurately 
depicted in Fig. 4; the hind wheels are sup- 
ported as in the modem French Bicycle (Fig. 8), 
and the front wheel is steered by a handle 
acting directly on the axle, independently of 
the fork. 

The introduction of the Baron's velocipede 
gave an impetus and a new direction to the 
inventive faculties. The first recorded fruit 
is a patent granted to a working cutler of 
Leeds, named John Baynes (patent No. 4,398, 
September, 1819). His notion consisted of re- 
moving the feet from the ground and substitut- 
ing a series of crutches, which were moved by 
treadles and levers. A much better contrivance 
was the improvement of Mr. Lewis Gompertz, 
who had previously patented several improve- 

c 2 

36 teijOcifbdes. 

ments in carriages. He seized the idea of aiding 
tbe legs of the rider by applying power direct 
to the driving-wheel, by^means of a toothed 
rack acting on a pinion fixed to the axle of 
the front wheel. This ingenions contrivance 

Fiff. 6.— QOMPaBM'8 Vblocipbdb. 

is BhowD in Pig. 5. The handle is moved 
backwards and forwards by the hands and 
arms of the rider, and thus brings the toothed 
segmented rack against the pinion. Mr. 
Gompertz says, ^'The circular rack must bq 


a sufficient portion of a circle to admit of a 
full contraction of the arms of the rider^ and 
of nearly a full extension likewise^ because 
when the velocipede goes backward^ the rack 
must be kept still beyond the pinion, in 
which case the arms are extended rather more 
than when they are in motion; and were this 
not extended to the handle, would be drawn 
out of the reach of the rider/' Mr. Gompertz 
made the riding-beam of beech strengthened 
with iron: the other parts were of iron and 
steel. He also anticipated Mr. Dana's notion, 
of a special roadway for velocipedes. He was 
modest enough to confine his wish that one 
side of the public highways should be devoted 
to this purpose. Thus this Surrey invention 
approached closely the construction of the 
modem bicycle. He failed from that love of 
cogs, pinions, and toothed wheels, which was 
the besetting weakness of velocipede designers. 

If we wish to see how ideas and events 
reproduce themselves, we have only to turn 


to the Patent List, No. 4,737, December 16, 
1822, and the English Mechanic for 1868. In 
the former, Mr. John Dumbell describes his 
idea of an improved velocipede, and in the 
latter (July, 1669), an imaginative individual 
describes nearly the same contrivance. The 
wheels in both instances were to consist of a 
series of curved spring spokes without felloes 
or tires, or projecting beyond them, in order 
that the elasticity of the spring might assist 
the onward progress of the vehicle. This idea 
in various forms seems to have taken hold of 
the minds of many individuals, nearly a score 
of patents having been applied for. Some 
years ago I was invited to inspect the agri- 
cultural improvements of a gentleman residing 
in the neighbourhood of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. 
He had invented many ingenious contrivances 
for saving labour, and he showed me, amongst 
other features, a pair of wheels constructed on 
this principle. Outside the tires, all round the 
wheel, were a number of longitudinal pieces of 


iron attached by springs, similar to the endless 
rail of a modem traction engine. In the 
model the contrivance worked well, but in 
practice the wheels were a failure, no extra 
speed was gained or power saved; on the 
contrary, the firiction was so great and the 
liability to derangement so constant, that the 
wheels had to be abandoned. 

During the next ten years, some further 
changes were proposed in velocipedes. A 
Mr. Jameson proposed a modification of the 
Eochelle velocipede in 1824, and treadles and 
lever became common. The present bicycle was 
evidently thought of, but the liability to over- 
turn was supposed to be so great, that four 
iron rods were proposed to project from each 
side, to which small wheels were attached to 
support the rider in his seat. A contrivance 
about as useful as a tight-rope dancer^s 
balancing-pole would be to a horseman in a 
crowded highway. 

In 1830 a bold and vigorous attempt was 


made to utilize the wheel-horse. A French 
post-oflSee official^ M. Dreuze by name, brought 
forward an improvement on the old twQ- 
wheel velocipede, which bid fair to be suc- 
cessful. He communicated the power directly 
to the axles of the wheels, so that they 
became a source of power instead of wasting 
it. A number of the country letter-carriers 
were mounted on the wheel-horse, and whilst 
the roads continued dry and hard M. Dreuze 
could congratulate himself on the success of 
his invention; but with wet weather came 
bad roads, and to the wet succeeded frost 
and snow. A little extra labour was all that 
was required to overcome the extra friction 
of the bad roads, but the wheels refused to 
progress on the slippy frozen surface. What 
was to be done ? The country folks wanted 
their letters, and the wheels of the veloci- 
pedes would not move except in an absurd 
manner on their own. axis ; so the poor 
postmen had to trudge off on foot, and leave 


theii?^ velocipedes behind them. The difficulty 
was not an insuperable one, but the new 
vehicles fell into desuetude in consequence, 
aided, probably, by the inertness and apathy 
of the Governmental employes. 

The favourite idea of English mechanics 
during the next generation was the four-wheel 
velocipede, working with treadles and levers 
on a cranked axle, the idea being to use all 
four wheels as driving-wheels at once. One 
of the most notable exceptions was a modifi- 
cation of the go-cart. The body of the rider 
was proposed to be supported by an iron 
ring, from which arose short crutches to 
fit the armpits attached to the centre of the 
axle of a pair of six-feet wheels. The feet 
would supply the motive power, and the 
hands would be free to steer by means of a 
lever. This notion has been reproduced 
during the present velocipede fwrore. 

The twenty years which elapsed between 
1841 and 1861 were nearly blank velocipede 


years. Only two or three suggestions were 
made, and only one patent applied for. In 
1861 the attention of mechanics was again 
directed to the construction of velocipedes, 
and the Journal of the Commissioners of 
Patents records several specifications, which 
it is unnecessary to repeat here. 


( 45 ) 



It would have been a slur on the mechanical 
genius of a manufacturing age if no machine 
could be invented to enable man to have quicker j^ 
easier^ and safer modes of transit than those 
which depend on expensive appliances and com-^ 
bination of labour and capital^ or those which 
rely on animal assistance. Some of our best 
machines are the simplest, and inventors have 
too frequently erred by using complicated move- 
ments when the simple ones were within their 
grasp, and far better adapted for their purpose. 
Thus it is said that Watt devised a thousand 
schemes for turning a vertical into a rotary or 


an horizontal one, but did not think of the crank. 
The simplicity of the dandy-horse, or, as we 
should term it, the Von Drais velocipede, was all 
that could be desired, but it unfortunately did 
not utilize the power of man. The extra speed 
was gained at a vast expense of power. The 
wheel-horse of that day was not under control — 
it was crude. It wanted the crank, and unfor- 
tunately for the enthusiastic velocipedists, it was 
not adapted to it. When cranks were used they 
were adapted to a four or three-wheeled carriage, 
with what success I have shown. Cogs, pinions, 
CTanks, wheels within wheels, and all mecha- 
nical contrivances to gain power did so at the 
expense of speed; and though many of the 
contrivances are admirably adapted to enable 
invalids to move themselves about in a Bath 
chair — ^nay are even now manufactured for that 
purpose, nevertheless for speed the power must 
be applied direct; and how this has been 
accomplished a glance at the American patent 
records will speedily show us. 


Firet in point of time was the " Cantering 

Propeller," invented by Mr. P. W. Mackenzie, 

a citizen of the United States, who in 1862 

Fig. 6.— The Cahtebiso Fbopelleb. 

patented in America an antomatic horse 
(Fig. 6), and has since reissued the patent with 
a view evidently of covering the whole ground 
of American manufacture now in dispute 
between Messrs. Witty and Smith for the 


Lambelle principle. The claim has been re- 
issued in the following terms : — 

1. I claim^ in combination with a saddle seat 
for the rider, the employment and use of a 
cranked axle, arms and foot-rest, so arranged 
that the power applied by the feet of the rider 
shall give motion to the vehicle, substantially 
as described and specified. 

2. The combination of the following elements ; 
namely a saddle seat for the rider, a cranked 
axle for propelling the vehicle by power applied 
by the feet of the rider, and a steering mecha- 
nism, so constructed that the direction of 
travel of the vehicle may be governed by the 
rider, substantially as described and specified. 

3. The universal joint, in combination with 
the fulcrum of the vehicle and the steering- 
wheel, constructed and operating substantially 
as and for the purposes specified. 

4. The hinged legs in combination with the 
body of the hoyse and with the cranks, sub- 
stantially as and for th^ pinrposei^ specified. 


5. The foot-rests upon the arm^ substan- 
tially as and for the purposes specified. 

6. The double-armed levers and diagonal 
cords in combination with the handle and 
steering-wheel; substantially as described and 

There is no doubt that this claim embraces 
all the essential. points of the modern bicycle. 

A Monsieur Biviere describes in the patent 
journals his improvement on the old dandy- 
horse. He fixed the axle of the front wheel 
so that it rotated with the wheel itself^ and 
passed through headings formed in the vertical 
steering-fork of the vehicle^ and each end of 
the axle was provided with a crank having a 
balance foot-plate> so that tiie rider could give 
motion to the machine through the cranked 
axle which actuated the front wheels instead of 
pressing his feet against the ground as in the 
old arrangement. This is the exact arrange- 
ment of the modem bicycle driving-wheel. He 
also points out:— ^^ In constructing a velocipede 


according to this invention, I prefer that the 
seat or saddle should be supported by a spring, 
and that a cross handle should be provided for 
actuating the vertical steering-fork of the 
front wheel, such cross handle being connected 
by a strap to one end of a lever of the first 
order, having its fiilcrum in the main beam of 
the vehicle, and the lever being so arranged 
that by partially rotating the cross handle upon 
its axis the front end of the lever is drawn up, 
and its lower end simultaneously actuates .a 
spring brake, which is pressed against the 
periphery of the back wheel of the velocipede, 
thus retarding its motion as desired. When 
not required to be used, the lever is kept out 
of action by a spring provided for that purpose. 
The two wheels must be in a line with each 
other, and I prefer that the front wheel should 
be somewhat larger in diameter than the back 
one.'' Had M. Riviere completed his specifica- 
tion, and added the necessary drawings, he 
would have been the patentee of the bicycle. 



Whether he was the inventor, or whether he 
had previously seen the French or American 
bicycle, we have no means of knowing. 

Flg» 7.— The BicrcLE. 

Thus, like many useful inventions, the real 
inventor of the mo4em bicycle is open to grave 
doubt. The simplest form and the easiest 
made by amateurs is shown in Fig. 7. If this 
velocipede was made with a brake, either self- 

D 2 


acting, as in Fig. lOj or witli a cord to the 
guide-handles, it would be peculiarly well 
adapted for heavy men. It has the simplicity 

Fig. 8.— Tkb Fbebch Bicycle. 

of the old dandy-horse with the power and 
improvements of the modern bicycle. 

We are now face to face with the most 
popular form of the French bicycle (Fig. 8). 
The pattern is that made by Mr. Lisle, of Moor- 
fields, Wolverhampton. It is fitted with lamp 


and brake complete. The brake is worked 
by turning the guide-arms. It has all the 
essentials both in theory and in practice of a 
first class and useful velocipede. 

/7j. 0,— Parisian Bioicle. 
A very strong, popular, and showy form of 
velocipede is that shown at Fig. 9, The 
brake can either be made self-acting by the 
action of the iron frame on the hind wheel, 
or a brake may be placed as shown in the 


French velocipede (Fig. 8) preceding. I have 
shown the triangular reel-treadlea in place of 
the weighted slipper. 

When the bicycle reached America, the 
various manufacturers introduced improvement 


and varieties of patterns. The pattemiknown 
in America as Pickering's {Fig. 10) has be- 
come known and popular in ^England as the 
American Bicycle. The saddle is supported 
on a spiral spring, and fitted with a self- 
acting brake beneath. 


The patentees claim for thia patbem great 

credit. They affirm that it is simpler, more 

durable, lighter, stronger, and cheaper than 

Fig. 11,— Thb Hahlon Velocipidb. 

either of the French patterns. The great 
feature of difference is, however, the connect- 
ing apparatus. Id this the saddle-bar serves 
not only as a seat but as a brake, and ia nob 


attached to the rear wheel. By a simple 
pressure forward against the tiller, and a 
backward pressure against the tail of the 
saddle, the saddle-spring is compressed, and 
the brake attached to it brought firmly down 
upon the wheel. 

Another of the American patterns is the one 
introduced by Hanlon Brothers (Fig. 11), and 
known by their name. 

In this the extending or sliding crank for 
the pedal was made a feature. The bearings 
of the guide-fork admit of easy lubrication 
and cleaning. The saddle is placed on a 
spring of wood or metal. Its great drawback 
is the want of a brake. It has met with 
little favour in England, though its simplicity 
and strength deserve a favourable consider- 

There have been some modifications of the 
bicycle patented. One notably by Mr. 
W. E. P. Gibbs, of London, in which the 
hind wheel is driven by cranks, whilst the 


front wheel is very small, and is simply used 
for tlie purpose of guiding the vehicle. The 
experience of all velocipedists points to a large 
driving-wheel in front as the beat and easiest 
to work. 

The American papers mention the invention 
of a velocipede of an entirely new style, called 
the '^Keystone/' invented by Professor Low- 
back, of Philadelphia, and so named by him 
in honour of his native state. It has but two 
wheels, and the seat is quite low between 
them. The novelty consists in a cog attached 
to the guiding-post, by means of which the 
rear-wheel is made to follow directly in the 
track of the driving-wheel. The description 
is not very explicit ; but we are further told 
that no matter how short the curve, both 
wheels make it at the same time, and the 
seat always remains parallel to the driving- 
wheel. In the other machines there is no 
guide to the rear wheel, and consequently the 
machine cannot be turned so readily when a 



collision is threatened. In practice, however, 
this alleged drawback does not exist, as the 
French bicycle can be turned round almost in 
its own length. In a room or riding-school 
no doubt the ^^ Keystone^' would be useful. 



In all probability the three-wheeled veloci- 
pede will have a more enduring and wider- 
spread popularity than the two-wheeled. Not 
that those in present use are safer or even 
easier to guide than the bicycle, but they 
permit the body to remain in a sitting posture 
when going down hill and when the machine 
is at rest. An artist can sketch from the 
seat. It can be taken to a shady nook while 
the luncheon or quiet pipe is enjoyed, and 
what is lost in speed is made up in comfort. 
There are, however, some drawbacks. Strange 
as it may appear to the uninitiated, the tri- 
cycle is far more likely to upset the tyro than 
the bicycle. Some modifications in the form 
of the machine have been made which bid 
fair to remove this objection. 


The simplest form of a tricycle is - shown in 
Fig. 12. It is one of those manufactured by 
Jlr. Lisle, of Wolverhampton, and is known 

Fig. 12.— GEEUiN Tbictcle. 

as the Gennaa tricycle. It is, in fact, a con- 
verted bicycle of the American pattern. The 
rear wheel is removed, and its place supplied 
by a pair of wheels, running free on an axle 


two feet long. The motive power is supplied 
by the crank pedals attached to the front 
axle. There is not much loss of power in 
this form of bicycle^ but there is a tendency 
to turn over when the machine is not running 
on the crown of the road. 

The Americans cling pertinaciously to the 
direct action principle, and whilst they have 
recognized the disabilities under which the 
bicycle labours, they have endeavoured to 
overcome these blemishes without reverting 
to the treadle and lever. A machine has 
been invented by Messrs. TopHff and Ely, of 
Elyria, Ohio, which attempts to combine 
the advantages of both the bicycle and the 
tricycle, by means of a depressed V axle to 
the rear wheels. This axle, by means of a 
lever, enables the rider at will to change the 
distance between the hind wheels from two 
feet to two inches, or less, so that he can 
practise in the beginning on the three-wheels, 
and as he gains confidence can change the 


machiiie practicfdly into a bicycle. Fig. 13 
shows a perspectiveelevationof this madune. The 
digrams showing the action of the rear wheels are 
shown on p. 127. They may be made to run on 
any portion of the axle, and are prevented from 

Fig. 13.— Thk EtTMA Vbmciped*. 
coming together by the fixed collar at B. 
The lerer for taming the axle is shown at A. 
A recent number of the SdenUJic American 
contains the drawing of a tricycle, which has 
many advantages to recommend it (Fig, 14). 
It was J^designed by Mr. John Tremper, of 


Wilmington, in tte Tjnited States. lb has tte 
driving-wheel in ii-ont, with the direct action 

Fig. 14.— Tbb WsjOKOTOir Tbkttole, 

of the reel pedals, but the wheel is placed 
mnch nearer to the rear wheels than any of 


the tricycles yet made. This gives the rider 
a more complete control over the motion and 
action of the machine^ and enables it to tarn 
corners with the safety and celerity of the 
two-wheeler. Its construction is thus de- 
scribed : — " From the axle of the hind wheel 
rises a bow-shaped brace, to which is bolted 
one end of the reach, which consists of 
two parallel pieces of wood bolted together, 
and embracing between them an upright 
standard or pipe, terminating in a forked 
brace, in which the driving-wheel turns, and 
having directly over the wheel's rim, where 
the forked braces unite, a brake-shoe or pad. 
Tho weight on the driving-wheel and part of 
th- 1 of the rider are sustained by a spiral 
spring, as seen in the woodcut, which serves 
as a buflTer in passing over irregularities of 
the ground. The steering-bar, which is a pro- 
longation of the forked brace, passes up through 
the hollow standard, and is furnished with 
handles, as usual, at the top. The seat, or 


saddle^ is sustained hj two cast-steel springs, 
secnred to the front of the reach by means 
of a cross strap, or block and bolt, so that 
it is easily adjusted further to the front or 
rear, as may be desired. The upright tube 
may also be adjusted in the reach to suit the 
length of legs or arms of the rider/* Some 
of the points in this machine are well worth 
the careAil consideration of the velocipede 
manufacturer. A leg-rest would improve it. 
Its good qualities would recommend it on fair 
roads ; indeed the great, if not its only draw- 
back, is the width of the hind-wheels apart, 
which would prevent the rider from picking 
his road with the ease he does on the 

Several modifications have been proposed, 
but none of the machines using the front wheel 
as a driving-wheel differ materially in form or 
construction from those delineated. 

The tricycle, when fitted with a seat instead 
of a saddle, became a favourite with the fair 


Bex of Paris. The necessity of the case sug- 
gested many modifications in tlie construction 
of the machine. The front wheel is only nsed 
for steering purposes, and as a support to the 
reach. The power is supplied by treadles and 

Fig. IB.— LiSLi^s Ladieb' EtfouaH VELocifBDE. 

levers, acting on cranks in the axle of the rear 
wheels. The seat is a cushion chair of horse- 
hair and wicker-work, fixed between the hind 
wheels, and supported by the reach and bear- 
ings on the axles. Mr. Lisle's " Ladies' 

Parisian tricycle (Pig. 1&), in whicli the reach 
is either straight and suggestire of an un- 
gracefnl attitude, or curved sideways, which ia 
emblematic of weakness. The pedals are fiir- 
s 2 


nished with slipper- shaped rests for the feet, 
and are so formed as to enable the rider to 
disengage her foot instantly. The motive 
power is similar to that of weaving, and is 
analogous to walking. There is no pressure 
of the foot, and the leg is fully extended 
without any cramping effort. Some of the 
larger and more powerful velocipedes of this 
principle (see Fig. 16) are fitted with side 
levers, which act on the cranked axle and 
materially increase the speed, and at the same 
time servo, if necessary, as a brake, by the 
rider pressing against it. The steering handle 
is fixed like that of an ordinary Bath chair. 

Since the recent revival of the velocipede 
movement there have been many suggestive 
improvements; but fliere are none which in- 
crease the power. A favourite notion is the 
use of direct foot motion on the cranked knee 
or toggle joint; and the other the use of a 
fixed straight lever acting in the same manner 
by the weight of the body. I have seen three- 


wheeled velocipedes with the two driving-wheels 
in fronts attached to a triangular frame^ but 
neither the rider nor the lookers-on pronounced 
it a success. There was some difficulty in 
steering it, and it had an inherent disposition 
to travel backwards. Except for ladies, the 
treadle machines offer no advantages. They 
afford healthful exercise to the fair sex, and, 
on comparatively level ground, they would 
doubtless be found an agreeable adjunct to a 
country life. 

In many fashionable spas, Bath chairs, fur- 
nished with a handle and multiplying-wheels, 
are frequently seen, in which invalids can move 
themselves about. They are an admimble 
contrivance for exercise, but their speed is that 
of the tortoise, not of the hare. 

The "Rantoone'' velocipede of Messrs. 
Bansome is a modification of a tricycle, with 
levers and treadles. 



No description of velocipedes would be perfect 
withont some aUnsion to tlie favourite " four- 
wheeler '^ of the past generation of mecluuiics. 
The idea of the four-wheeler is perfect Beourity, 
space for a companion^ and an imposing fippear- 
anoe. The drawbacks are want of control, 
steering-brakes, loss of power, and expense. 
There are numberless varieties and patterns of 
these machines, all of which have their admirers. 
Amongst the best, if not the very best, is one 
manufactured by Mr. Andrews, of Dublin, the 
construction of which will be best understood 
by reference to Pigs. 17 and 18. 

The frame of this velocipede is made' of the 
best inch-square iron, seven feet long between 
perpendiculars. The treadles are made of the 
best ash, 1^ inch by 1^ inch, 6 feet 6 inches 
long. The wheels should be made as the best 


velocipede wheels are made^ of elm stocks^ 
4 inches by 5 inches; hickory spokes^ which 
should not exceed | inch by | inch, tapering 
to I inch to i inch. The felloes are made of 
best ash, bent in one piece, so that they only 
require one joining ; light steel tires. Mr. 
Andrews makes his wheels 3 feet 4 inches 
high; but if similar wheels are made for a 
bicycle they should not exceed 32 or 34 inches 
high. The fore wheels move freely on an axle, 
which is fixed by a pivot, to the reach or 
frame, and a steering-handle is likewise attached 
to the axle by a lever-brace. The reach is curved 
upwards, to support a cross-bar on which the 
treadles are suspended: it is forked under the 
seat, and lies over the cranked axle on brass 
bearings. The seat should be made as Ught as 
possible, of some wicker or cane work, and may 
be stufied with hair. 

This form of velocipede admits of hand-levers 
being fitted, as shown by the dotted lines, 
Fig. 17. The other dotted lines show the 


positions for a ralise, box, or portmanteau at 
the bock of the seat or above the front axle. 

Mr. Sawyer, of Dover, ia another well-known 
maker of foiu> wheelers. 


One of the most recent auggeations for the 
improve meat of thia clasa of velocipedes ia to 

gain additional power by diapensing with the 
treadlea, and permit the feet to work directly 

74 viLooiPSPss. 

on knee-jomts in the axle of the front wheels. 
This plan does not overcome the objections 
that have been raised to the four-wheelers in 


( 77 ) 


As in most other accomplishments/ practice 
alone can make a skilful rider of velocipedes. 
The tyro can, however, profit by the experience 
of others, and I give a few rules for his guidance 
as well as directions for his practice. The first 
point is to gain confidence in, and familiarity 
with, his wheel horse. If he has had one made 
according to the directions in this manual, he 
wiU know its parts and proportions intimately. 
If he has but recently purchased one, he should 
walk by its side, guiding it by the handle until 
he knows its movements thoroughly. He will 
see that it obeys, almost like a " thing of life,^^ 



the slightest moyement of the handle, and 
follows the driving-wheel in all its tortuous 

The second step of progress is to gain and 
keep the balance when astride on the saddle. 
This is apparently a very diflScult feat to accom- 
plish, but really it is not so. After sitting for 
a few minutes in the velocipede, with the toes 
touching the ground, the vehicle may be placed 
on a slight incline, so that it may run down of 
its own accord. The handle must be gripped 
firmly and steadily, and the feet just lifted from 
the ground. If there is a disposition to swerve 
either to the right or left, in consequence of the 
inclination of the body disturbing the equili- 
brium, a slight alteration of the pressure on the 
handle will restore the lost balance. 

In the riding-schools it is usual for the 
assistant to steady the velocipede in the earlier 
lessons ; but, like learning to swim on corks, 
it is far better to dispense with this extraneous 
aid, so that the rider may study the action of the 


machine himself. He will, find the sensation 
pecoliar at firsts but a slight practice will 
habituate him to it. At first he will wish the 
handles were firmer^ for each nervous twist that 
he gives it as the machine moves is calculated 
either to upset his balance or to turn the vehicle 
out of a straight line. 

A few runs down an incline will pave the 
way for the first real lesson on self-propulsion. 
At first, it will be better to lift each leg alter- 
nately, so that they may follow the movement 
of the pedal without exerting any force* This 
will habituate the knees and feet to the move- 
ment. It is during this practice thai the arm 
of a friend or the ready hand of a i^Ued 
assistant is valuable^ as there is always a dis- 
position to press too hardly on the pedal. It 
does not require the strength of an elephant 
to turn the driving-wheel, even on the roughest 
road ; and in these preliminary trials it is quite 

The engraving (Pig. 19) "The Mount," 


shows the position of starting. Observe the 
position of the pedal, on which the left leg is 

Fi.-. IS.— The Mount. 

resting. It is placed In such a position that 
the mere weight of the rider will cause the 


machine to more. Ere lie has bcoaght the 
foot down, his right leg will find a resting- 

— Tab Stabt. Jost Off. 

place on the corresponding pedal, and by the 
exercise of a little downward pressure alter- 


nately as each peda] turns, progress wilt be 
made, sts shown in Fig. 20 and Fig. 21 • 

It is very important that the pedals should 
be placed at the angle indicated, as it gives the 
necessary impetus to the start. Should there 
be any danger of falling, take the foot off the 
pedals on the side and rest it on the ground, 
and commence afresh. It is by no means un- 
common for the learner to be able to run a 
distance of fifty or sixty yards after a few hours^ 
practice. To alight it is only necessary to apply 
the brake by turning the handle. To slacken 
the speed, release the feet from the pedals and 
place them simultaneously on the ground. 

In all the earlier essays choose some un- 
frequented road for practice, and avoid as fer 
possible a crowded thoroughfare. 

Practise at first down hill; the use of the 
brake will at all times prevent excessive ppeed. 

Beware of advancing vehicles and abrupt 
crossing of roads. Do not ride on the foot-paths I 

When practice has given a tolerable com- 


mand ovot the rehicle (and a young, active 
man will acquire that cominand in a fortnight'a 

F;g. 21.— Fbipawnb to oo DcfWN Hill. 

practice of a couple of hours a day), the legs 

may be elevated to the rest when the velocipede 

F 2 


descends a hill, so that it may ran free. The 
preliminary position of doing this is shown in 
Fig. 21. 

The right leg is raised on to the cross rest 
beneath the angle, whilst the hands firmly 
grasp the handle. A slight efibrt will raise 
the left leg to the other side of the rest (Fig. 
22). The velocipede will run now down hill 
by its own gravitation, whilst the rider controls 
its movements by the aid of the brake. It 
requires but little practice to perform this feat 
adroitly, , In fact, the greater the speed the 
more perfect the balance. 

In all early efforts the ascent of a hill should 
be avoided. It is very discouraging to the 
learner, and causes him to lose confidence in 
himself and his vehicle. When perfect com- 
mand is obtained over the velocipede, com- 
paratively steep hills may be ascended with- 
out much difficulty. Old velocipedists all affirm 
that it is better and wiser on long journeys 
to walk up the hills, for there is a much less 


expendituro of power inwalkbg up tho liills 
and leading the bieycle, or even pushing a four- 

Fig. 22.— Off Down TIit, 

wheeler, than in attempting to force it along 
by means of the treadles. 


With respect to the command over the 
velocipede, I have seen comparative be- 
ginners, in the course of a month's practice, 
describe a series of circles or a figure of eight 
with ease. It is by no means impossible to 
turn a circle at full speed a little more in 
diameter than the length of the machine itself. 

One of the objections made to the use of 
the bicycle is that a slight impediment would 
cause it to overturn ; but practically this is not 
the case. A recent velocipede steeplechase at 
the gymnasium at Liverpool showed that the 
bicycle could perform wonders, going easily 
over large thick mats and planks spread about 
without upsetting the riders ; as many as three 
mats were cleared at one time in excellent style. 
During this race Mr. Shepherd, one of the 
velocipedists, mounted on to the narrow seat, 
and balanced himself on one foot whilst the 
bicycle was going at a rapid rate. The vehicles 
nsed were the strong iron ones manufactured 
by Mr. Brown, of Liverpool. 


( 89 ) 


However popular and however common velo- 
cipedes may become, there will always remain 
a large section of the people to whom they 
will be and must be inaccessible, in conse- 
quence of their price. At first sight there 
seems no reason why so large a sum should 
be charged for them. The lowest price quoted, 
as far as I have seen, was 35^. for a tricycle 
adapted for rural postmen by Mr. Lisle, of 
Wolverhampton. For a well-built bicycle, the 
lowest price yet quoted is £7. 75., though the 
advertised prices range from £10 to £20. 


Bicycles have been sold in America as high as 
200. dollars, with ivory handles and ornamental 
platings of silver. In Paris they are sold at 
all prices, from two hundred to four hundred 
francs. Velocipedes de luxe, such as that 
presented to the Prince Imperial, mount up 
to any sum, according to the amount of rose- 
wood, carving, and aluminium bronze used. 

Then there are numerous etceteras sold. 
Valise, lantern, oil-bottle, or grease-box, 
spanner in case of the machine getting out 
of order, or india-rubber cushions for the iroa 
cross-bar in front of the bicyxsle, on which the 
feet rest when going down hill. A cover too 
is wanted for the vehicle, to preserve it from 
dust, and some add an indicator to mark the 
distance travelled. 

This sum is larger in consequence of the 
liability of the bicycle to rough usage and acci-^ 
dents. The best material must be used in 
their construction, or the result will be failure. 
Every piece must be made by hand of wrought 


iron, steel, or brass. Oast iron has been used 
and failed. It was dangerous to the rider, 
and pecuniarily fatal to the manufacturer. In 
large manufactories a variety of artisans are 
employed. One of the great American manu- 
factories ^^ employs draughtsmen to design im- 
provements, pattern-makers to prepare models 
for the foundry, blacksmiths to do the forging, 
wheelwrights for the wheels, machinists and 
fitters to turn and fit the various parts, 
foundrymen to cast the pedals and traces, 
l>oltmq>kers to make the rivets and bolts, 
saddlers to prepare the seats, and painters and 
vamishers to finish the machines for the ware- 
room.^^ . Still it is possible for any ingenious 
mechanic to make one for himself, if he attends 
to the dimensions and directions herewith 



Are of course the principal portion of the 
vehicle. They have been advertised at 20s. 
the pair when made of iron. Good hickory 
wheels with steel tires cost more than that 
sum. The iron ones would probably prove as 

The driving-wheel should never exceed 36 
inches in diameter. An ordinary- sized man 
would find 30 inches high enough, for the 
pedals may be gi'aduated on a slide to suit 
the length of leg and stride required. The 
height of the saddle should always admit of 
the feet being placed on the ground. This 
enables the rider to rest when tired in an easy 
position, and gives him power to preserve 
himself from many an ugly tumble in the 
beginning of his career. 

The dimensions of a full-sized French velo- 

*cipede are various. If the driving-wheel is 

36 inches in diameter, the rear wheel should 


not exceed 32 inclies^ and it is better to have 
two of SO inches, so that it may be converted 
into a tricycle. The length between the 
centres should not exceed 44 inches. The rear 
wheels should run free on a fixed axle. The 
axle of the driving-wheel is either a part of 
the iron wheel, or keyed on to it, fitted with 
either square nuts or ornamental caps to keep 
the pedal-stays firmly in their places. 

An exceedingly useful size, perhaps Ihe most 
useful, is to have the driving-wheel 30 inches 
in diameter, and the rear wheel 27 inches. 
The length between the centres would then be 
80 inches. 

In the -description of the ^'Dublin Pour- 
wheeler '^ ( ante, p. 73 ) the dimension of 
hickory wheels is given. Some additional 
strength is secured by placing the spokes on 
the nave-stock alternately on one side and 
the other of the centre, as shown in Fig. 23. 
By far the cheapest plan is to buy a pair of 
tubular iron wheels. 



If, however, it is more handy to procare 
wooden wheels, 


will have to be considered. It should be made 
of bar steel, one inch square, and keyed into 

the wooden nave with flat 
keys, or what is better, a 
flat plate may be screwed on 
either side of the nave, with 
a square hole to fit the axle. 
The first inch of the axle 
outside the nave must be 
rounded to receive the fork. 
The next inch should be left 
square to receive the erank 
(Pig. 25), which may either 
be secured by an ordinary 
linch-pin as at A, Pig. 23, 
or by a screw and nut as at 
Fig. 23. B. Another plan may be 


followed which h&e many advantages. The 
wheel may be left free on the axle as in an 
ordinary carriage^ and on the outside of the 
nave a strong iron plate. Fig, 24, may be 

Fig. 24. Fig. 25. 

screwed, working with a ratchet -catch, B. 
Q^e crank arm will then run free when 
descending an incline. This modification 
is far better adiiji' ziX for ^ troidle bicycle 


than for a bicycle, and can only be recom- 
mended when the nave of the wheel needs 
strengthening. As the rear wheel runs free on 
the axle, it may be secured by a simple nut and 
screw on each side of the reach-fork, or by a 


is shown at Fig. 25. The groove or slot 
enables the crank-pin bearing the pedal to be 
adjusted to any length required. It may be 
made of f-inch iron. The groove or slot 
should be | inch wide, and the width of the 
crank should be 1^ inch, as the strain is very 


or stirrup are made of various shapes; those 
in the form of a slipper are now almost uni- 
versally discarded in favour of the two varieties 
shown in Fig. 26. - The first (A) is a three- 


sided wooden pedal with a circular brass 
flange turning freely on tlie crank-pin. The 
pressure of the foot will always bring one of 
the sides into proper position. They are so 
shaped as to allow of the use of the fore-part 
of the foot, bringing the ankle-joint in play, 

Fig. 26. 

relieving the knee, and rendering propulsion 
much easier than when the shank of the foot 
is alone used, as in the slippers. The pattern B, 
which is weighted so as always to present the 
same surface to the foot, has many admirers. 
They are adjusted on the crank by means of a 
nut and screw. A plain crank-iron without a 
yeel may be used, 



ia varionsly formed. The fork itself is half 

the diameter of the wheel, 

with sii£Bcieiit play to let 

the latter run free. The 

bearing should be bushed 

with braaa or composition 

metal. Thus, if the wheel 

is 30 inchea high, the fork 

would hare to be 16 inches, 

and the shafl 9 inches. 

It should be filed square 

at the top to secure the 

fork of the steering-handle, 

and the upper part tapped 

to receive a nut. 
Fig. 27. 


may be made of any fancy curve, a variety of 
which are shown in the engravinga of the 


bicycles. A plain fork (Fig. 28) will answer 
every purpose of use and ornament. The 
shafb of the handles should have a hole drilled 
to receive the brake-cord, if one is used, or 

Fig. 28. 

an eyelet-hole may be welded on. The handles 
should be of wood. 


is the most important portion of the whole, 
for unless it is of good material and well 
made, no possible satisfaction can be given. 
The simplest made and the cheapest is that 
shown in Fig. 7, but a handy smith would 

a 2 



have but little diflBculty in forming one similar 
to the Hanlon Velocipede (Fig. 11). A good 
stout ash bar is within the reach of every 
country, and the majority of town lads ; a 
cooper, joiner, or wheelwright, if the lad has 
no tools, would shape it into a form similar 
to Fig. 29. It should be some 4 feet long, 

Fig. 29. 

and 3 inches by 2 inches scantling. The 
bow carrying a collar. A, should be made 
of iron, and screwed to the bearing-shaft, to 
receive the guide-fork, and a brass collar should 
be let into the shaft immediately beneath for 
the same purpose, as shown by dotted lines 
at B. The two supports to the hind wheel, 



one on each side^ shonld be of a Y sliape^.as 
in Fig. 80, so that they may be tightly screwed 
to the shaft. The arm might be lengthened 

Fig, 30. 

at D on both sides, so that a pin or bolt could 
be inserted to support a steel spring for a 
saddle, the other end of which may be secured 
at C, Fig. 29. Or, 

may be supported on two spiral springs, or 


by eighteen inches of steel spring bolted 
through on the right side of the shaft at C^ in 
the shape of Fig. 31. The saddle itself maj be 

Fig. 31. 

of wood, or stuffed with wool, and covered with 
leather or American cloth. 


must next be considered. The brace-fork must 
be fitted on the driving-wheel by ecrewing the 
caps to the Sange and oiling it well. The crank-> 
shafts must follow at right angles to each ol^er, 
and the nuts screwed tightly home. The bear- 
ing-shaft or reach should now be placed on the 
fork. Ere this is done, a collar of india-rubber 


or a coil or two of spiral spring should be 
placed over the outside of the fork, between 
it and the shaffc, to act as a buffer. If neither 
india-rubber nor spring be handy, a few pieces 
of leather and cloth will be useful to prevent the 
jarring of the machine. The steering-handle 
may be fitted on and screwed down. It may 
require a few iron washers or rings to come 
firmly down to the collar ; but this must not be 
screwed too tight. The V supports may now 
be secured in their places by bolts being run 
through the screw-holes and secured on the 
other side with nuts, so that the work will be 
exactly parallel. This is better than the plan 
shown in Pig. 7 of making the supports into 
forks and bolting them through the wood. The 
first plan strengthens, and the latter weakens, 
the shaft. The rear wheel may now be placed. 
A strong but simple steel bolt, with a linch- 
pin or nut, will answer for an axle. Pit on 
the saddle, and your velocipede is complete, 
with the exception of the brake, which is 


hardly necessary; but, if desired^ it can be 
screwed beneath the shafl, so as to act on 
the hind wheel, as shown in Fig. 7. A 
piece of catgut, or , even sash-cord if knotted 
to the steering-handle and passed through a 
gimlet-hole in the shaft and attached to the 

Fig. 32. 

end of the brake, will furnish sufficient power 
on the steering-handle beiug turned round. 
Fig. 32 shows the ordinary construction of a 
brake. It is made of irou, but the shaded part 
is wood, which will require renewing occasion- 
ally. Now you have a bicycle ; ride, practise, 
and prosper. 


( 107 ) 


If one half of the saggestions which have 
been made for the use and improvement of 
velocipedes were turned to practical account^ 
we should have air^ earthy fire^ and water 
vehicles in multifarious variety. Whether that 
faipous six or seven-wheeler^ which is to carry 
a family party by a treadle movement^ will ever 
become a reality it is di£5lcult to say. The 
performance^ to say the least of itj would^ be 
of a very cranky order. Wind velocipedes are 
nearly as old as the hills. They have been 
tried with flat and revolving sails^ combining 
in the latter instance a land boat and a 
wiiidmill^ all of which are duly described in 


the " Sailing-boat/' by Mr. H. 0. Folkard, and 
the results chronicled even to the frightening 
of a farmer^s wife and upsetting her in a 

Tl^e marine velocipede, the podoscaphe, op 
velocipede marin, which is the last new 
Parisian notion, has been tried for years with 
some success. Those on the lake of the Bois de 
Boulogne are '^ formed of a couple of canoes 
covered with canvas and joined together by 
two iron bars, between which is a paddle-wheel, 
put in motion by means of two pedals placed 
at the extremity of the arc." There was a talk 
that some enterprising gentleman would cross 
the Channel on one of these machines, but he 
has not yet done so. Some of the marine velo- 
cipedes suggested are manumotive machines, 
the movement of which is analogous to turning 
a mangle. Machines of this kind have been 
used for years without any great results being 

Several suggestions have been made with 


respect to the application of steam to velo- 
cipedes. It might, and perhaps will be done; 
but then they will cease to be velocipedes. 
Bead some of the latest ideas on the subject. 
The vehicle is to be constructed to carry two. 

'^The means for working consists of a pair 
of oscillating cylinders, situated behind the 
carriage, driving a small cranked stage, having 
upon it the two driving-wheels. Steam is 
supplied from a small boiler, located in the 
front, and carried through the steam-pipe into 
the trunnion-box between the cylinders, and 
after performing its work, finds its passage 
into the exhaust-pipe in the usual manner. 
The exhaust-pipe is in connection with the 
funnel of the boiler, the latter being located 
underneath the carriage, so that no incon- 
venience may arise from smoke in front. The 
heat, too, from the boiler may all be avoided by 
placing around it some non-conducting material. 
A handle whereby the brake may be applied is 
in a convenient position, and may be used to 

110 tblocifbdkb. 

one or both wheels, and the guide-wheel, worked 
by gearing, is bo placed that it may easily be 
handled by a passenger, who has the oppor- 
tunity of transforming himaelf (for the time 

Fig. 33. 

being) into an amateur engine-driver and ifcoker, 
Co^B are carried in a bunker, situate in front 
of the boiler." 

The proposers ani3 inventors may console 
themselves by knowing that in Mr. Stewart's 
pleasant "Anecdotes of the Steam-Eogioe," 


published forty yeftra agd", there ia a little 
vignette, a similar contriTance, of which 
Fig, 33 is a fae-Bvmile. The design aeeniB 

Fig. S4.— AuERICAN' Ice Vblocipede. 

to ridicule Msbstb. Baynes, Bmnton, Dntnbell 
Tindal, and Co. A reference to the "Aids to 
Locomotion/' issned by the Patent OflSce, will 
show that the idea dates at least fioin 1813. 



The American ice velocipede (Pig. 34) is a 
much more sensible contrivance. It is literally 
skating by means of machinery. The design 
originally appeared in Harper's Weekly, and 
the machine is intended to be used on ice or 
frozen snow. The driving-wheel is armed with 
sharp points to prevent the possibility of 
slipping, which proved so fatal to M. Dreuze's 
machine. The hind wheel is replaced by a 
pair of gigantic skates or runners, similar to 
those used in sleighs or ice-boats. It is hardly 
likely to have a fair trial in England. 

This vehicle, with its one wheel, seems to 
have tickled the fancy of a Mr. John St. 
Leger Partridge, who has, or is going to bring 
out the " Victorine,^^ or one-wheeled veloci- 
pede. BelVs Life informs the public, however, 
that this gentleman's labours in this direction 
have occupied the better portion of the last 
fourteen years. It is his intention, we are 
told, 'Ho test publicly the merits of his machine 
bj'' an open trial. To this end he issues a 


challenge to all comers to a race of veloci- 
pedes^ of any models to some town not more 
than a hundred or less than fifty miles from 
London. He further oflfers to give one mile 
start for every twenty in the course decided 
oUj the road selected to be a fair average one 
as to ascents and descents. This '^ sensation ^^ 
match will doubtless be watched with much 
curiosity^ as the Americans have attempted 
progression en velocipede with positively one 
wheel.^' This Mr. John St. Leger Partridge 
must have taken a lesson out of Mr. Dumbell's 
idea^ which is a spherical ball^ with compart- 
ments; or he must have adopted a squirrel- 
cage, or the clown's idea of riding on a barrel. 
The American idea is a combination of the two. 
Far more useful and interesting are the various 
fprms of a child's velocipede. The Prince Im- 
\ perial, on the occasion of the Fete de PllqueSj 
presented ten miniature velocipedes in alumin- 
ium bronze to his Mends. The majority of the 
uvenile velocipedes are merely small varieties 



114 YBLOCiraDBB. 

of tboBe used by the seniors. There is, how- 
ever, aa adfiptation of the '^ cantering pro- 
peller^^ affixed to a trioycle, which combines 
the pleasure of a rocking-horse with actual 
progression. Such are a few of the many 
forms which yelocipedes have assumed during 
the past fifteen months. 



( 117 ) 


— — •o* 

La Belle France was the cradle of the 
velocipede. All that we know of its history 
points to France as its birth-place, and^we 
are convinced now that its resuscitation is 
due to the petits creves and cocottes of Paris. 

What a change from the cumbersome ma- 
chine of M. Blanchard to the light and airy- 
bicycle of the modern Parisian ; but the 
change in popular opinion is even greater. 
It is true that caricaturists still make them 
the butt of their wit-pointed pencils ; prince 
and peasant, noble and bourgeois, — all vie 
with each other in their admiration of the 
new vehicle. A vivid account of the scene 


presented by the riders appears in the London 
Society for November. We are told that 123 
miles have been accomplished within the twenty- 
four hours, and that fifty miles in five hours 
have been repeatedly accomplished. Those who 
witnessed the feats of the French velocipedists 
at the Crystal Palace at Easter will believe 
all the stories of the dashing rides along 
parapets, and the marvellous races that have 
taken place. The riders frequently wear 
jockey caps and coloured jackets to distin- 
guish them. One of the most frequent trials 
of skill is who shall go slowest, and who can 
ride best without any steering apparatus. At 
these races the prize is often a silver cup or 
a sum of money. The average length of the 
course is 1,800 metres, which is nearly equi- 
valent to a mile and a furlong. This distance 
has been done in four minutes and twenty- 
five seconds, although a portion of it was 
over a stone-paved road, by a bicycle; A 
tricycle took two minutes longer to perform 


the same distanoe. A racing speed of a mile 
in five minutes for a distance of two or three 
miles is very excellent riding. 

A variety of suggestions have been thrown 
oat with respect to their use. The Salut de Lyon 
states that rural postmen are mounted on 
them. Telegraph messengers are recommended 
to use them. Even country doctors and par* 
sons are recommended to try the new iron 
horse which requires no com. Artists^ elec- 
tors^ and sportsmen are reported as using 
them. No wonder^ then^ that when the 
velocipede was introduced into America^ the 
Yankees exclaimed that '^ walking was on 
its last legs.^' They seized with avidity the 
new idea, though, until the fall of 1866, 
they do not appear to have excited much 
popular attention. The Scientific Ariuriecm 
notices their existence in the records of new 
patents earlier in the year, but gives no 
description of the new vehicle until later. The 
other American journals just notice the novelty. 


and then exclaim that pedestrianism has had 
its day and must bow before the conqaering 
rnn of the newer light. Its motion was described 
as graceful. It was a thing of life^ moving 
with a smooth grace, alike exhilarating and 
beautiful to behold. They were introduced 
into the theatres, as in Paris, and the designer, 
in Bouirpev^s Weekly , represented the new year 
1869 as coming into the world seated on one 
of the new contrivances. The American public 
were treated to anecdotes of races between 
velocipedes and the street cars, in which the 
former were victorious, unless they met with 
a ''foul,'' as in the famous race on Indiana 
Avenue, at Chicago. Eaces took place in Cin- 
cinnati, where the prize was a silver cup, worth 
100 dollars, for the fastest, and another, of 
equal value, to the slowest rider. Mr. Dana 
of the New York Sun, himself an experienced 
velocipedist, even advocated a project to build 
an elevated railway from Harlem to the Battery 
— ^from one end of New York to the other — ^for 


the use of riders of velocipedes only. By this 
means it was estimated that it would be possible 
to go &om one end of Manhattan Island to the 
other^ barring stoppages and accidents^ in an 
hour. The proposed roadway was to be thirty 
feet wide, on an iron framework, and the floor- 
ing of hard pine. This idea seems to have 
infected an English inventor, if we may judge 
from a recent application for a patent. 

On the 28th of November, 1868, a public 
race took place in New York, when the tall 
French pattern was very generally condemned, 
and the pattern now known as the American 
(Fig. 9) preferred. It was at first known as 
the Pickering velocipede, and the drivin g-wheel 
never exceeded three feet in diameter. The 
most popular pattern was one with the driving- 
wheel 33 inches high. The frame was made of 
hydraulic iron tubing, as more simple, lighter, 
stronger, and cheaper than any other material. 
They were made by gauge, so that if any portion 
met with an accident or wore out, it could be 


indtantly replaced. Of the other three pattemd^ 
the Monod, which was the French pattern 
(Fig. 8), received a large share of support; 
and those made by the Brothers Hanlon 
(Fig. 11) and Messrs. Wood were looked 
upon with favonr. At the beginning of the 
year the demand was so great that th^e was 
the greatest difficulty in procuring velocipedes 
of any pattern. The manufacturers were over- 
whelmed with orders. The riding-schools, and 
the rooms opened by the manufacturers, were 
found too limited for the accommodation of 
those anxious to learn the new mode of loco* 
motion. Art galleries were converted into 
velocipede training-institutions; and it' was no 

wonder that the supply fell a month into arrear 
of the demand. 

At the beginning of January it was estimated 
that there were in New York and its immediate 
vicinity alone no less than 5,000 persons who 
either knew how to ride the velocipede or were 
learning, and it was estimated that at least half 


that nnmber would be mounted daring the 
Bummer. The side streets were thronged with 
them j but the city authorities forbade the use of 
the parks to the " carriage of the people.'' The 
great difficulty^ present and to come^ is to find 
places to ride in. 

It was not to be expected that the American 
carriage manufacturers would permit so profit- 
able a branch of manufacture to slip through 
their fingers^ and it was not surprising that they 
soon began to devote a large portion of iheir 
establishments to the manufacture of the popular 
vehicle. It was understood that any manu- 
facturer was at liberty to make the two-wheeled 
velocipede in any way he deemed most profit- 
able, no one being aware of the fact that the 
machine had been duly patented and the exclusive 
right secured by a little Yankee foresight and 

A.S far back as 1866, the Scientific American 
recorded a patent for the two-wheel velocipede 
with treadles and guiding-arms, known as 


Lallement's patent, but no one appeared to take 
notice of the fact, for bicycles were then 
a thing of the future — a French toy, which 
no one thought of. When, however, it was 
obvious that a '^big thing ^' was to be done 
in velocipedes, Mr. Calvin Witty, of No. 638, 
Broadway, New York, went quietly to ascertain 
how the manufacture could be controlled, and 
he speedily found out the holders of the patent, 
which covered the principle of the bicycle, and 
bought the exclusive right of manufacturing 
and using treadles and guiding-arms in America. 
The surprise and indignation of the various 
manufacturers can b^ easily judged, when they 
received a polite intimation from Mr. Witty, 
that they were infringing his patent, and re- 
questing a settlement for the past infringe- 
ments. They pooh-poohed the claims, laughed 
at the notices, held meetings, but they found 
that the law was on Mr. Witty^s side, and they 
had to purchase from him a license to manu- 
facture. That gentleman has doubtless hit 


upon a mine of wealth to reward his shrewdnesa " 
in forestalling the coming time, unless the 
opposing claim of Stephen "W. Smith, also of 
New York, is substantiated, for he claims the 
invention altogether. He states that he in- 
vented and perfected the bicycle in New York, 
and afterwards introduced it into France himself 
by patent. This claim is again disputed by 
Mr. P. W. Mackenzie, whose " Cantering Pro- 
poller '^ was patented in 1862, and whose 
specification embraces all the principles of 
Lallement's patent (Fig. 6, p. 47). In the 
mean time the demand for velocipedes goes on, 
and is yet unsatisfied. 

In England we are supposed to be a sensible 
people, neither afiecting the excitement of the 
French or the sensationalism of the Americans, 
yet in the matter of velocipedes we have in- 
dulged in some strange vagaries. We at least 
have proposed velocipede railways. We have 
the " one- wheeler ; ^^ and we, too, have had 
races. On Wednesday, the 14th of April, 1 869, 


Mr. 0. A. Booth, the champion of skating, 
performed the journey from London to Brighton 
on a bicycle, 52 miles in 7i hours. Previously 
this had only been done in 9i hours. In 
Liverpool the gymnasiums are crowded nightly 
by expectant riders. Manchester has caught 
the fever. Birmingham has the symptoms. 
London is talking over the new excitement. 
The watering-places are thankful for the new 
sensation, and embryo riders exclaim — 

I shall have no horse to feed, 
Though I ride on a velocipede. 

Ere I say farewell, let me caution veloci- 
pedists, past, present, and prospective, against 
expecting too much from any description of 
velocipede. They do not give power, they only 
utilize. There must be an expenditure of 
power to produce speed. One is inclined to 
agree with the temperate remarks of Mr. 
Lander, O.E., of Liverpool, rather than with 
the extravagant enthusiasm of American or 


French riders. As a means of healthful exer- 
cise it is worthy of attention. Certainly not 
more than forty miles in a day of eight hours 
can be done with ease. Mr. Lander thinks 
only thirty. If this is correct, it does not 
beat walking, though velocipedists affirm that 
double the distance can be done with ease. 
Much will and must depend on the skill of 
the rider, the state of the roads, and the 
country to be travelled. 

Fig. 35. Fig. 86. 

The Elyria Velocipede. 

WTXAir AWD SOirS, PUirXBM, esiAS qubbit stbsbt, LoirsoB-, w.c. 

AUG 21 1919 



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