1790 Hobby Horse Bicycle


Early Bicycles 1791-1907

In stock

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The hobby-horse bicycle, also known as a ‘dandy horse’, velocipede or Laufmaschine, was invented in Germany by Baron Karl von Drais and was introduced into England, via France, in 1818. This odd machine, the ancestor of the bicycle, propelled along by the rider sitting astride and energetically thrusting backwards on the surface of the road, alternately using his right foot and then his left. At first this new form of personal transport aroused much ridicule, but soon the physical challenge and novelty of riding the hobby-horse bicycle increased its popularity throughout Europe. The basic design configuration of the hobby­ comprises a main horizontal wooden beam, or backbone frame, on which is mounted the saddle pad. This beam is strengthened with metal straps. At the front end of the beam a nearly vertical iron fork accommodates the front wheel, and a similar fork at the other end carries the rear cart-type wheel. The wheels are made of wood and fitted with iron tyres. Steering is obtained by means of handlebars attached to an extension of the front fork. The complete hobby-horse bicycle is very heavy, some models weighing as much as 60 lb (27 Kg). In 1820 the standard model cost about £8 – £12. It is estimated that some 3,000 were built throughout Europe and quite a number still survive in various private collections and museums.

Additional information

Weight 0.013 kg
Dimensions 38.1 × 25.3 cm