The single-wheeled velocipede has at length received a palpable body and “a local habitation and a name.” Richard C. Hemming of New Haven, Conn., invented the machine herewith represented, two years ago; but has only recently brought it into the market and applied it to practical purposes. The main wheel has a double rim, or has two concentric rims, the inner face of the inner one having a projecting lip for keeping the friction rollers and the friction driver in place; each of these being correspondingly grooved on their peripheries. The frame on which the rider sits, sustains these friction wheels in double parallel arms, on the front one of which is mounted a double pulley, with belts passing to small pulleys on the axis of the driving wheel. This double wheel ~S is driven, as seen, by cranks turned by the hands. “The friction of the lower wheel on the surface of M the inner rim of the main wheel, is the immediate I means of propulsion. A small binding wheel, seen between the rider’s legs, serves to keep the bands or belts tight. The steering is effected either by inclining the body to one side or the other, or by the foot impinging on the ground, the stirrups being hung low for this purpose. By throwing the weight on these stirrups, the binding wheel may be brought more powerfully down on the belts. Over the rider’s head is an awning and there is also a shield in front of his body to keep the clothes from being soiled by mud and wet. When going forward, the driving wheel is kept slightly forward of the centre of gravity by the position of the rider. By this means the power exerted is comparatively small. Every turn of the crank is equivalent to a rotation of the great wheel.
Mr. Hemming says that this machine can be manufactured for fifty dollars, of a weight of only thirty pounds, that it will ascend steep grades and that it can be driven on the roads with but little exertion, at the rate of twenty or even twenty-five miles an hour. This wheel is of a diameter of from six to eight feet. Mr. Hemming’s boy of thirteen has one five feet in diameter, the first manufactured, crude in construction, and heavier than necessary, which he propels at the rate of a mile in three minutes. A mechanic of Dubuque, Iowa, has invented a one-wheeled machine, which he calls a velocycle or velocyde. This velocipede is not ridden upon, but transports its rider into the position of “walkist.” It is a large wheel or double wheel, made a unit by a light rim of five feet one inch in diameter. The operator steps upon the rim and commences to ascend an endless ladder. It being movable, of course he does not ascend but sets the wheel in motion. The inventor claims that the effort is not greater than the force of muscle required in ordinary locomotion, and that by his arrangement of pulleys each step gives a complete revolution of the wheel and is equivalent to a stride of eighteen feet. He claims that it will ascend steep grades, will run at the rate of twenty miles an hour, will not weigh over twenty pounds, and that it can be manufactured for $40 The single wheeled velocipede was perhaps predicted in Ezekiel i. 15-21. A gentleman in Pittsburg, Pa., claims to have invented one, which can be propelled by the combined force of five men, who occupy comfortable seats in the automatic horse. This wheel is ten feet in diameter and the inventor thinks it can be driven at the rate of twenty miles an hour. A New York mechanic has devised a monocycle or single machine, which consists of a wheel eight feet in diameter, with a tire six inches wide, or two narrow tires on its outer edges, with two sets of spokes connecting with a double centre, which fills the place of a hub, the two sides of which are two feet and a half apart. The operator is in the middle and propels the wheel by an apparatus, in which both his weight and his muscles are brought into play.

The velocipede: its history, varieties, and practice, J. T. Goddard (1869)


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