1817, Draisina

1817, Draisina – Germany.

The Draisine created by the German  Baron Karl Von Drais, is the most similar object to the bicycle we all know.

Obviously, cyclists back then had some difficulties, just think about the fact it was made from a single piece of wood and didn’t have pedals at all. In order to move you had to sit astride on it and push yourself forward with your legs, without mentioning that if you wanted to change direction you had to stop and move the vehicle!

Sitting on the draisine was also an easy way to get your pants dirty. Moreover you had to brake with your feet and those who owned one soon wore out their soles. The qualitative leap was made in 1861 by Michaux, a talented parisian coachman, who finally gave the draisine the “propulsion” connecting the pedals to the front hub through some cranks. As a tribute to the inventor, these precursors of modern bicycles are called “Michaudine”.

Many improvements followed and later led to Michaux’s bicycle. Launched in 1865, the vehicle became extraordinarily popular.

Technical notes:

  • 24-spoke wooden wheels
  • Snake-shaped wooden frame
  • Springs under the seat

Piero Angela talks about our Draisine on SUPERQUARK, at min. 8:00

Sponsor
Friends of the Museum