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Date Made:ca. 1880
Type:Recreational Gear; Transportation
Materials:wood, paint, base metal
Place Made:United States
Accession Number:  HD 67.300
Credit Line:Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Henry N. Flynt, Jr.
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Tricycle made of wood painted red with black and gold line decoration and a seat cover in blue textile with blue fringe. In 1817, the German inventor, Karl Friedrich Christian Louis Baron von Drais von Sauerbronn (1785-1851), or Karl von Drais as he called himself, invented the first human-propelled machine, with two in-line wheels, which he called a velocipede (literally "fast feet") or "Laufmaschine" (running machine), which became known as a "Draisine" (English), "Draisienne" (French), or dandy horse or hobby-horse. This machine consisted of two in-line wheels connected by a perch with a cushioned seat, a balance board for resting the arms, and a handle bar attached to the front wheel. The rider sat on the sear and moved forward using a heels-first gait. The first running machine, which was made entirely of wood, was intended to enable von Drais to survey his grounds with greater efficiency. Both the English and the French claim the invention of the "pedal" bicycle in the early 1860s, when pedals were applied directly to the front wheel. Known as bone shakers, these ambulatory devices were extremely uncomfortable since they was also made entirely of wood, then later with metal tires, and the combination of these with the cobblestone roads of the day made for an extremely uncomfortable ride. Although Charles Goodyear (1800-1860) discovered vulcanized rubber in 1839, it was not patented until 1844. Rubber as material for tires was used experimentally in the 1870s; the inflatable tire was invented by 1881 when it first appeared at the 1881 Paris World's Fair where it was shown along with the first "electric sewing machine." Adult pedal tricycles are known to have existed from the mid to late 1860s. Tricycles became a popular alternative to the high-wheeled Ordinary bicycle as a allegedly more stable and safer form of transportation, but the two-wheeled bicycles continued to be favored. The tires on this example appear to be made from wooden buggy wheels.

children; play

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