Sunday, April 20, 2014

Who Invented the Bicycle?

Cross-posted from LiveScience

You might think that an invention as simple as the bicycle would have an uncomplicated past. But as it turns out, this highly popular invention has a history fraught with controversy and misinformation. While stories about who invented the bicycle often contradict one another, there's one thing that's certain - the very first bicycles were nothing like the ones you see cruising down the street today.

The first known iterations of a wheeled, human-powered vehicle were created long before the bicycle became a practical form of transportation. In 1418, an Italian engineer, Giovanni de la Fontana, constructed a human-powered device consisting of four wheels and a loop of rope connected by gears.

In 1813, about 400 years after Fontana built his wheeled contraption, a German aristocrat and inventor named Karl Drais began work on his own version of a four-wheeled, human-powered vehicle. Then in 1817, Drais debuted a two-wheeled vehicle, known by many names throughout Europe, including Draisine, running machine and hobby horse. [Read the full article ...]

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