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Bicycle history article on Slate

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Bicycle history article on Slate

Old 07-22-14, 10:28 AM
Darth Lefty 
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Bicycle history article on Slate

There's a nice article in Slate today from the authors of a coffee-table book on bike design, giving a listicle of 19th century bike innovators and their contributions. I suggest you click over and read it if only for all the nice patent excerpts, but here are the highlight technologies.


Notable that nearly everything was in place by the end of the 19th century, with really only derailleurs, shifters, and improving materials left for the 20th and 21st.
  1. Two wheel steered balance bike - 1817, Karl Drais
  2. Crank pedals - 1866, debatable
  3. Tension spokes - 1869, Eugene Meyer
  4. Tangent spoking - 1874, James Starley
  5. Roller chain (not the first chain drive) - 1880, Hans Renold
  6. Safety bicycle - 1885, John Kemp Starley
  7. Dynamo lighting - patented 1886, Richard Weber, but not viable til light bulbs got better in 1911
  8. Pneumatic tires - 1886, John Boyd Dunlop
  9. Tube rolling - 1887, Max and Reinhard Mannesmann (as an accidental discovery trying to make better cotter pins for the left side crank!)
  10. Hub gears - 1898, William Reilly (who went on to design Sturmey-Archer hubs)
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Old 07-22-14, 11:47 AM
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Great stuff. Thanks for the link. I'd live to see their top 10 for the 20th Century.
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Old 07-23-14, 06:57 AM
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Really good. When I saw "Slate" I was going to pass over the thread, stereotyping.
I decided to stop in, anyway, and glad I did. Thanks.
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I have unfinished business.

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Old 07-23-14, 07:02 AM
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Good post. I've had this book in my Amazon inbox for a while. Reading this article convinced me to buy it. It will help round out my bike book collection (which is a heck of lot easier to keep than my fleet of bikes!)
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Old 07-23-14, 07:57 AM
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Definitely putting this one on my wish list. Looks like the best cycling history publication since Berto's Dancing Chain.
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Old 07-23-14, 09:49 AM
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Good stuff. I own many such books, so I'm aware of many things in the article, which doesn't make it any less fun to read about again!
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