Mannheim, 1817

The Dandy Horse
Reconstruction: Museo del Sidecar, Cingoli (Macerata)
Materials: wood (ash, acacia, elm), forged iron, cast bronze, vegetable hair, leather, hemp, boiled linseed oil, colored pigments, animal fat

The bicycle was invented in 1817, when Baron Karl von Drais (1785-1851) designed the vehicle called “dandy horse” and also “draisienne” after him. This exhibit is a replica of the specimen on display in the Deutsches Museum in Munich, a Laufmaschine (“running machine”) built by Drais in Mannheim in 1817. Gripped with both hands, the handlebar serves to change direction and maintain balance. On either side of the front wheel is the double stand. The brake, which works on the rear wheel, is controlled by hand by a rope. Behind the saddle, a leather bag similar to the horse saddle bags contains a rain cape, while two bags for objects are anchored at the sides of the front fork.