Thursday, May 7, 2009

1861 Week dos

1861 gave birth to the first bicycle with cranks and pedals. As might be imagined, the motorcycle evolved from a vehicle powered by sheer human energy—the bicycle. French bicycle maker Pierre Michaux and his sons Ernest and Henri first fitted a bicycle with cranks and pedals—precursors to the modern-day motor—in 1861. The Michauxes' velocipede was an instant hit and the family became the largest velo producer in Europe with a large factory at Bar-le-Duc in France. Working with Michaux, L.G. Perreaux devised a steam-powered motorcycle engine, called a velo-a-vapeur, which was patented in 1868. Sylvester Howard Roper of Roxbury, Massachusetts pioneered a similar invention in the United States around that time as well.

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