One-Wheeled Velocipede (1869)

We present an engraving of an English one-wheeled velocipede. The feet are placed on short stilts, connected with the cranks, one on either side of the rim, while the rider sits upon a steel spring saddle over the whole wheel. The inventor modestly limits the diameter of the wheel to twelve feet, and the number of revolutions to fifty per minute. Twenty-five miles per hour is the speed expected to be reached. The riders of this machine, without the ability to overcome the laws of gravity, would be very likely to get broken bones and noses. It is not likely to come into general use. Captain Du Boisson, a Frenchman and captain of Prince Napoleon’s yacht, “Jerome Napoleon,” has invented a velocipede which runs upon water with great facility. It is composed of two parallel tubes of cast iron, cigar-shaped, connected by iron crosspieces. In the centre is a propelling wheel, covered by a house or drum, on the top of which the person using the vessel sits comfortably in a sort of saddle, with stirrups. By means of these stirrups and a hand crank upon each side, he gives the wheel its motion, precisely as it is given to a velocipede on shore. The novel craft is easily propelled at the rate of six miles an hour. A gentleman of Poughkeepsie, N. Y., has invented and uses an Ice Velocipede, which he propels with astonishing rapidity. The frame of this velocipede is built like those which are commonly used in this city. It has but one wheel, steered with a bar as in the land machine, but armed with sharp points to prevent its slipping. Instead of the wheel behind are two sharp runners, like those attached to the ice boats.

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


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