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Velocipede (Boneshaker) 1869


1869 velocipede, popularly called "Boneshaker". Made by Andrew Muir & Co of Manchester, England. Wooden wheels and hubs. Front wheel: 36", rear wheel: 30".

The term "velocipede" was coined in 1818 by Nicéphore Niépce (French inventor, most noted as one of the inventors of photography) to describe his own "improved" version of the Drais Laufmaschine. Niépce's vehicle included an adjustable saddle. It was, however, almost 40 years until "velocipede" came into common usage as a generic term, with the launch of the first pedal-equipped bicycle, developed by Pierre Michaux, Pierre Lallement and the Olivier brothers in the 1860s. The Michaux company was the first to mass-produce the velocipede, from 1867 to 1870. That French design was initially made entirely of wood, with metal tires and a spoon brake on the rear wheel. The vehicles were called the boneshakers, as their wooden wheels in combination with the cobblestone roads of the day made for an extremely uncomfortable ride. In spite of this velocipedes got very popular among wealthy young men, who could afford them. In large cities there were even indoor riding academies, similar to roller rinks. During the period of their top popularity velocipedes were copied by many small manufacturers, until in 1870's the penny-farthing bicycles replaced them.

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