Several months ago, I heard about an exhibit at the Parc de Sceaux. I had already come and gone from Sceaux not knowing about the exhibit, so when I learned of it I made a point to return before the exhibits closure on May 31, 2015 (I made it by mere days!). It was so fun to learn about the history of the bicycle across the world, as well as what role the bicycle plays in French society today (hint: does the maillot jaune mean anything to you?).
(Unfortunately, all of my photos were taken with an iPhone, so the quality isn’t as good as it could be. My apologies.)
1817 ~ Invention of the dandy horse by invented by Baron Karl Draishref in Germany
18845 ~ First patent issued for an inflatable tire, never tried by its inventor R.W. Lawson (England)
1861 ~ Invention of the pedal by Pierre Michaux (France)
1868 ~ Chain transmission prototype created by de Guilmet et Meyer (France)
1869 ~ First penny-farthing created between 1875 and 1890 (England)
1875 ~ Jules Truffault replaces the wooden wheel with a rimmed wheel and rubber tires (France)
1879 ~ Invention of the Lawson bicycle with smaller wheels, but still of differing sizes (England)
1884-1887 ~ Kangaroo bicycle came onto the scene, including pedals and a chain (England & France)
1884-1888 ~ John Starley invents the bike we know today, called the “Rover safety bicycle” (England)
1888 ~ John Boyd Dunlop introduced the first practical pneumatic tire and goes for another patent (Scotland)
1895 ~ Jean Loubeyre invents the derailleur in his “La Polyceler” (Belgium)
An impressive display of every iteration of a bicycle throughout history
It appears some iterations were more intensive for the rider than others. Early models also seem far less stable than we are accustomed to today.
This is hilarious. My goodness, I hope you can read French. If it weren’t enough to confine women to the home for housework, they had to be of a certain class in order to have the right to ride a bicycle. For those who were allowed, this gave them great freedom. However, some were concerned that a woman seated on a saddle could experience adverse effects on her lady parts – or worse – become sexually stimulated by the repeated action of the legs for pedaling.
A charming description of the difference between a bicyclette and a vélo. You’re either in one camp or the other regarding your type of riding, so you best be clear about it! (I’m bicyclette all the way!)
How charming that the word “bicycle” is neither English nor French but quite perfectly both!
Fun old posters featuring bicycles
More photos in an upcoming post… Stay tuned.
Check out upcoming expositions at Domaines de Sceaux here.