Baron Karl de Drais invention

I found this short, 14 minute video covering the history of the bicycle. This bicycle episode of the German “Milestones in Science and Engineering” (with English narration) from 1991 begins with Baron Karl de Drais’s hobby horse or Laufmaschine before covering Pierre Michaux’s pedal bike, high wheel penny farthings, the chain driven safety bicycle and John Dunlop’s pneumatic tires.

“The Bicycle” spends a fair amount of time explaining how a bicycle is balanced; unfortunately, the narrator emphasizes gyroscopic and centrifugal forces as essential components, when both of those factors were shown to be very minor by Dr David E Jones in 1970 with his “Un-Ridable Bicycle” experiments.

Enjoy the show — we can appreciate how uncomfortable those early velocipede’s must have been, and there’s some good archival footage of bike riders as well. This video was produced in 1991 in Europe, so you won’t see many helmets.


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