Sometimes cycling is just too much like hard work. All that pushing of pedals and pumping of legs can wear a body out. So what better than adding a little motive power to your bike? So thought Ogden Bolton Jr. of Canton, Ohio, when he submitted his patent application for an Electrical Bicycle in September, 1895. Remarkably Bolton’s design didn’t include a traditional drive mechanism of pedals, crankset and rear cog, with the motive power instead coming from an ingenious battery powered revolving armature that would drive the rear wheel. This rather begs the question whether his invention could be described as a bicycle at all; pedal propulsion being a defining feature of the bicycle. It also seems a rather limiting factor on the purpose of the bicycle in getting from A to B and back again. Maybe Nineteenth Century battery technology was much better than I’m prepared to give it credit for, but, given that a typical modern day electrical bicycle has a range of about 20 miles on battery power alone, the chances were that you’d be stranded after just a few miles had been ridden on Bolton’s bike. Particularly if the rider was a bit heavy on the handlebar mounted rheostat that regulated the speed.
Live the Dream
Research from the Defence Studies Department, King's College London
The New Jeffersonian
Fast drawings with a few words...
My words, visions & trivia along the way
One life, some bicycles. A million possibilities, zero clue!
When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells
Speed is relative. Victory is fleeting. But the ride lasts forever.
A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.
Exploring Time Travel of Place
A history blog on the joys and perils of cycling in Victorian Britain
Celebrating the bit players of history
- a little look at the history of Rhyl
Official site of author and historian Sean Munger.
Music, Film, Art, History and more...
Food Photography & Recipes