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Posts tagged with ‘bicycle’

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Draisine, ca. 1818
This week’s Smithsonian Snapshot celebrates National Bike Month with the forerunner of the modern bicycle: this ca. 1818 draisine.
In 1817, Karl Drais, a young inventor in Baden, Germany, designed and built a two-wheeled, wooden vehicle that was straddled and propelled by walking swiftly. Drais called it the laufmaschine or “running machine.”
A forester for the Grand Duke of Baden, Drais used his laufmaschine to inspect the Duke’s forest. The laufmaschine soon became a novelty among Europeans, who named it the “draisine.”
By 1818, the draisine craze reached the United States. Charles Wilson Peale, a well-known portrait artist, helped to popularize the draisine by displaying one in his museum in Philadelphia. Many American examples were made, and rentals and riding rinks became available in Eastern cities.
By 1820, the high cost of the vehicle, combined with its lack of practical value, limited its appeal and made it little more than an expensive toy. The two-wheeled vehicle would not become sustained until pedals were added in the late 1800s.
Donated to the Smithsonian in 1964, this draisine is the oldest cycle in its collection of 61 cycles. They reflect social trends and technological developments that have shaped the growth and popularity of riding since 1818.
To view more bicycles, motorcycles, automobiles and other vehicles at the Smithsonian, visit the National Museum of American History’s “America on the Move” exhibition.
This item is one of 137 million artifacts, works of art and specimens in the Smithsonian’s collection. It is not on display. To learn more about this item, visit the National Museum of American History’s website.
Draisine, ca. 1818
This week’s Smithsonian Snapshot celebrates National Bike Month with the forerunner of the modern bicycle: this ca. 1818 draisine.
In 1817, Karl Drais, a young inventor in Baden, Germany, designed and built a two-wheeled, wooden vehicle that was straddled and propelled by walking swiftly. Drais called it the laufmaschine or “running machine.”
A forester for the Grand Duke of Baden, Drais used his laufmaschine to inspect the Duke’s forest. The laufmaschine soon became a novelty among Europeans, who named it the “draisine.”
By 1818, the draisine craze reached the United States. Charles Wilson Peale, a well-known portrait artist, helped to popularize the draisine by displaying one in his museum in Philadelphia. Many American examples were made, and rentals and riding rinks became available in Eastern cities.
By 1820, the high cost of the vehicle, combined with its lack of practical value, limited its appeal and made it little more than an expensive toy. The two-wheeled vehicle would not become sustained until pedals were added in the late 1800s.
Donated to the Smithsonian in 1964, this draisine is the oldest cycle in its collection of 61 cycles. They reflect social trends and technological developments that have shaped the growth and popularity of riding since 1818.
To view more bicycles, motorcycles, automobiles and other vehicles at the Smithsonian, visit the National Museum of American History’s “America on the Move” exhibition.
This item is one of 137 million artifacts, works of art and specimens in the Smithsonian’s collection. It is not on display. To learn more about this item, visit the National Museum of American History’s website.

Draisine, ca. 1818

This week’s Smithsonian Snapshot celebrates National Bike Month with the forerunner of the modern bicycle: this ca. 1818 draisine.

In 1817, Karl Drais, a young inventor in Baden, Germany, designed and built a two-wheeled, wooden vehicle that was straddled and propelled by walking swiftly. Drais called it the laufmaschine or “running machine.”

A forester for the Grand Duke of Baden, Drais used his laufmaschine to inspect the Duke’s forest. The laufmaschine soon became a novelty among Europeans, who named it the “draisine.”

By 1818, the draisine craze reached the United States. Charles Wilson Peale, a well-known portrait artist, helped to popularize the draisine by displaying one in his museum in Philadelphia. Many American examples were made, and rentals and riding rinks became available in Eastern cities.

By 1820, the high cost of the vehicle, combined with its lack of practical value, limited its appeal and made it little more than an expensive toy. The two-wheeled vehicle would not become sustained until pedals were added in the late 1800s.

Donated to the Smithsonian in 1964, this draisine is the oldest cycle in its collection of 61 cycles. They reflect social trends and technological developments that have shaped the growth and popularity of riding since 1818.

To view more bicycles, motorcycles, automobiles and other vehicles at the Smithsonian, visit the National Museum of American History’s “America on the Move” exhibition.

This item is one of 137 million artifacts, works of art and specimens in the Smithsonian’s collection. It is not on display. To learn more about this item, visit the National Museum of American History’s website.

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Columbia Light Roadster High-Wheel Bicycle, 1886
What comes to mind when thinking about spring—taking the bike out for a long ride? March 20 marks the first day of spring this year. This week’s Smithsonian Snapshot celebrates the spring season with an original 1886 Columbia Light Roadster high-wheel bicycle.
Sold originally for approximately $135, this bicycle was made by the Pope Manufacturing Co., the first company to manufacture bicycles in the U.S. This bicycle was available with seven sizes of front wheel, from 47 to 59 inches, and two sizes of rear wheel, 16 or 18 inches. This example is fitted with a 60-spoke, 53-inch front wheel, and a 20-spoke, 18-inch rear wheel.
This group photo shows cyclists in one of America’s first organized biking tours. The first rider is Charles E. Pratt, first president of the League of American Wheelmen, a national membership organization for cyclists. The riders are lined up outside Readville, Mass., in 1879.
Established in 1889, the Smithsonian’s cycle collection has 60 velocipedes, high-wheel bicycles and safety bicycles. These items reflect the technological developments and popularity of biking beginning in the late 19th century.
These items are two of 137 million artifacts, works of art and specimens in the Smithsonian’s collection. They are not currently on display. For more info about them, visit the museum’s website.
To view bicycle advertisements and catalogs from the late 1800s, visit the Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ website.
Columbia Light Roadster High-Wheel Bicycle, 1886
What comes to mind when thinking about spring—taking the bike out for a long ride? March 20 marks the first day of spring this year. This week’s Smithsonian Snapshot celebrates the spring season with an original 1886 Columbia Light Roadster high-wheel bicycle.
Sold originally for approximately $135, this bicycle was made by the Pope Manufacturing Co., the first company to manufacture bicycles in the U.S. This bicycle was available with seven sizes of front wheel, from 47 to 59 inches, and two sizes of rear wheel, 16 or 18 inches. This example is fitted with a 60-spoke, 53-inch front wheel, and a 20-spoke, 18-inch rear wheel.
This group photo shows cyclists in one of America’s first organized biking tours. The first rider is Charles E. Pratt, first president of the League of American Wheelmen, a national membership organization for cyclists. The riders are lined up outside Readville, Mass., in 1879.
Established in 1889, the Smithsonian’s cycle collection has 60 velocipedes, high-wheel bicycles and safety bicycles. These items reflect the technological developments and popularity of biking beginning in the late 19th century.
These items are two of 137 million artifacts, works of art and specimens in the Smithsonian’s collection. They are not currently on display. For more info about them, visit the museum’s website.
To view bicycle advertisements and catalogs from the late 1800s, visit the Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ website.

Columbia Light Roadster High-Wheel Bicycle, 1886

What comes to mind when thinking about spring—taking the bike out for a long ride? March 20 marks the first day of spring this year. This week’s Smithsonian Snapshot celebrates the spring season with an original 1886 Columbia Light Roadster high-wheel bicycle.

Sold originally for approximately $135, this bicycle was made by the Pope Manufacturing Co., the first company to manufacture bicycles in the U.S. This bicycle was available with seven sizes of front wheel, from 47 to 59 inches, and two sizes of rear wheel, 16 or 18 inches. This example is fitted with a 60-spoke, 53-inch front wheel, and a 20-spoke, 18-inch rear wheel.

This group photo shows cyclists in one of America’s first organized biking tours. The first rider is Charles E. Pratt, first president of the League of American Wheelmen, a national membership organization for cyclists. The riders are lined up outside Readville, Mass., in 1879.

Established in 1889, the Smithsonian’s cycle collection has 60 velocipedes, high-wheel bicycles and safety bicycles. These items reflect the technological developments and popularity of biking beginning in the late 19th century.

These items are two of 137 million artifacts, works of art and specimens in the Smithsonian’s collection. They are not currently on display. For more info about them, visit the museum’s website.

To view bicycle advertisements and catalogs from the late 1800s, visit the Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ website.