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a marvel of ingenuity - The Bicycle

An issue of The Indiana Historian - a magazine exploring Indiana history

The following timeline appears as two parallel timelines in the magazine--Bicycle Timeline and Other Events in History. Here the events are intermingled.

1779Velocipede exhibited in France; "a three- wheeled vehicle propelled and directed by both hands and feet" (Pratt, 5).

1789March 4
The first session of the United States Congress convenes (Carruth, 61).

"Makespeed" (later Draisine) ; invented by Baron Karl von Drais in Germany; moved "by thrusting his feet on the ground"; illustration below is from the French patent (Pratt, 7, 8; Smith, 4).

1816December 11
Indiana becomes the nineteenth state.

"Pedestrian curricle" patented in England by Denis Johnson; improved on the Draisine; called "hobby-horse"; illustration below from the patent (Pratt, 8).

"Pedestrian curricle" from England introduced in New York City (Pratt, 9).

"Hobby-horse" improved by Louis Gompertz (Pratt, 10).

Indianapolis is platted.

October 26
Erie Canal officially opens, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean (Carruth, 103).

1839"Pedal-powered bicycle" invented by Scottish blacksmith Kirpatrick Macmillan; illustration on page 14 (Wilson, 21).

U.S. Civil War.

"Two-wheeled velocipede" demonstrated in Paris by Pierre Lallement, French mechanic instrumental in creation (Pratt, 13).

"Two-wheeled velocipede" patented in November in U.S. by Lallement (who had emigrated) and James Carrol; "two wooden wheels, with iron tires, of nearly equal size, one before the other, surmounted by a wooden perch"; illustration from the patent (Pratt, 13-14; Smith, 6).

1867U.S. purchases Alaska from Russia (Carruth, 170).

Indiana University admits first woman student (Thornbrough, 507).

The Studebaker Corporation is formed from the Studebaker Wagon Works. Located in South Bend, it is the largest Indiana wagon and carriage manufacturer (Thornbrough, 420-21).

Development and use of bicycle expand in France and England and then in U.S. (Pratt, 18, 20).

"American" or "improved velocipede" also called a "bone-shaker" brought great enthusiasm; journal The Velocipedist begun (Pratt, 20-21).

1870Coal miners in Clay County, Indiana earn $1.00 for every ton of coal. Miners furnish their own tools and blasting powder (Thornbrough, 441).

"Ordinary" or "high-wheeler" production begun in England; "The wheel is made . . . of steel instead of wood: the tire is of round rubber instead of flat iron or steel" (Dodge, 58-59; Pratt, 28).

Lawn tennis, a new sport invented in England, appears in the U.S. (Carruth, 182).

"Ordinary" introduced to U.S. at Philadelphia centennial exposition (Smith, 7-8).

Pratt, 27

Albert Pope, Boston, begins bicycle import house and riding school; commissions mechanic to build "allegedly the first real bicycle made in America" (Smith, 8).

Average pay per day for teachers in Indiana township schools is $1.90 for men and $1.70 for women (Thornbrough, 505).

Pope began producing the Columbia model ordinary (Smith, 8).

70% of the school age population of Indiana (ages 5 to 21) are enrolled in school--an increase from less than 50% in 1863 (Thornbrough, 477).

League of American Wheelmen "organized to 'promote the general interests of bicycling . . .' " (Smith, 12).

A system of standard time is adopted by railroads of the U.S. and Canada to eliminate problems caused by the unsystematic setting of local times (Carruth, 195).

"Safety bicycle" of John Kemp Starley (third model Rover); two nearly equal wheels "with chain drive, diamond frame, and low wheels, influenced bicycle design to the present" (Oliver and Berkebile, 20).

The first successful natural gas well in Indiana is bored near Portland in Jay County setting off a gas boom lasting almost two decades (Phillips, 192-93).

1887Victor Bicycle (safety) patented by A. H. Overman, Massachusetts (Smith, 14).

John Dunlop patents the pneumatic tire in England (Oliver and Berkebile, 20).

In Indiana, 1 establishment makes bicycles and parts (federal census).

July 4
Elwood Haynes' "horseless carriage" completes a successful 8 mph trial run on Pumpkinvine Pike near Kokomo (Phillips, 312).

George S. Cottman publishes in Indiana Farmer report of his bicycle trip from New Albany to Wyandotte Cave (McCord, 244-48).

1895In Indiana, 17 establishments make bicycles and parts with a value of $3,085,377 (state statistics).

U.S. patent issued to Charles E. Duryea for a gasoline-driven automobile. Karl Benz had received a U.S. patent in 1894 for a German motor car (Carruth, 217).

Bicycle industry listed for first time in report of State of Indiana Department of Statistics.

April 24
Spain declares war on U.S. Congress passes declaration of war April 25 (Carruth, 221).

U.S.S. Maine

Indianapolis hosts national meeting of League of American Wheelmen.

In Indiana, 19 establishments make bicycles or parts (Phillips, 311).

1904In Indiana, 2 establishments make bicycles or bicycle parts (Phillips, 311).