Velocipedes, Not Just For Fun Anymore, Wheeled Freedom For War's Wounded

JPK Huson 1863

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velo ladies crop.jpg

Using a ' ladie's ' four wheeled velocipede, pre-war, to illustrate what variety may have been used for wounded. This was moved using one's arms, not pedals or just shoved along like some. Some genius must have gotten a good look at the growing list of maimed men and adapted our early bicycle-velocipede to give them freedom.

What does the invention and technological progression of bicycles have to do with medical care and the ACW? Nowhere do you see these kind of wonderful machines advertised for anything save fun, fitness and frolic. First making a serious appearance near the end of the 1700's, by 1810 ( or so, information in era books varies ), a velocipede had no pedals. A 2 wheeled scooter with a seat, you pushed it along by paddling your feet.

vel coast crop.jpg

He's coasting on a later model, I think 1840 but it's a terrific illustration this machine appealed to the kid in all of us. Idea was, build momentum, coast down along flats and down hills. It's wonderful!

Hate to abbreviate too much history- inventors being what they are, velocipedes appeared in such divergent, crazily imaginative and eye popping forms it was clear we were smitten. The bicycle had arrived.

velo unicycle.jpg

Dog is chasing a post-war model but you get the idea.

One of my favorites, enlarged because you can see spikes on the tires on this- from Frank Leslie's during the war, a little amazing the military didn't have a shot at using some form. It's an ice rider!
velo ice 2.JPG
velo ice 3.JPG

Wrecks were probably frequent but worth it. How much fun was this?

I'd go on if things didn't get serious in a big hurry. Velocipede races on canals, using boats powered by velocipedes were a ' thing ', children's velocipedes had wooden horse heads for handbars and wide seated 2 wheelers were sold for ladies. Then they were needed.


velo 1864 ny soldier.JPG

Sounds less like a wheelchair, which were around, more like someone brilliant put self propelled velocipedes to good use. Quite a few articles like this. 1861

velo hosp 1864.JPG

This young soldier is just one more example- there are dozens. Before motorized wheelchairs, someone gave wounded soldiers freedom anyway. Love this stuff! If anyone comes across an image, please post? Like I said, have a feeling they looked like the ladies model, top of thread.

Apologies to Mid Century Life forum, thought this belonged in Medical Care, you know?
 

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Buster Keaton donated his velocipede used in Our Hospitality (1923) to the Smithsonian Institution.
Velocipede.jpg


"This velocipede is an original prop from Keaton's Our Hospitality, in which a young man (Keaton) finds himself stuck in the middle of a long-standing family feud. In a notable sequence from the film, Keaton is seen riding this velocipede, which was built specifically for the film to resemble an early 1800s dandy horse or "gentleman's hobby horse," a pedal-less bicycle. Keaton himself donated the velocipede to the Smithsonian in 1924, where it remains one of the National Museum of American History's most prized silent film artifacts."
http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/hollywoods-silent-era
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Came across another mention of velocipedes in an ACW hospital setting- I don't think they were early wheelchairs but can NOT find the version used. Guessing it depended on wound or what limb was amputated? If anyone knows ( this forum's membership tends to be inclusive of people who know this stuff ), feel free to add ( please? ).

4 wheeled 1868.jpg

Maybe a version of this ( although how this man read a newspaper while steering that thing...... ) , smaller wheels?

Had to include the steam velocipede- can you imagine? This tickles me. The first motorcycle?
velo steam crop1.jpg
 

Mrs. V

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Oh, those look like fun! You’d have to be super careful not to catch your skirts though. I/we have my Great Grandmothers bicycle boots. They are burgundy leather, and go all the way up to the knee. Very post war, but super cool. One of these days when I am rich and famous, Imma gonna have copies made so I can wear a pair!
 
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View attachment 293015
Using a ' ladie's ' four wheeled velocipede, pre-war, to illustrate what variety may have been used for wounded. This was moved using one's arms, not pedals or just shoved along like some. Some genius must have gotten a good look at the growing list of maimed men and adapted our early bicycle-velocipede to give them freedom.

What does the invention and technological progression of bicycles have to do with medical care and the ACW? Nowhere do you see these kind of wonderful machines advertised for anything save fun, fitness and frolic. First making a serious appearance near the end of the 1700's, by 1810 ( or so, information in era books varies ), a velocipede had no pedals. A 2 wheeled scooter with a seat, you pushed it along by paddling your feet.

View attachment 293014
He's coasting on a later model, I think 1840 but it's a terrific illustration this machine appealed to the kid in all of us. Idea was, build momentum, coast down along flats and down hills. It's wonderful!

Hate to abbreviate too much history- inventors being what they are, velocipedes appeared in such divergent, crazily imaginative and eye popping forms it was clear we were smitten. The bicycle had arrived.

View attachment 293018
Dog is chasing a post-war model but you get the idea.

One of my favorites, enlarged because you can see spikes on the tires on this- from Frank Leslie's during the war, a little amazing the military didn't have a shot at using some form. It's an ice rider!
View attachment 293016 View attachment 293017
Wrecks were probably frequent but worth it. How much fun was this?

I'd go on if things didn't get serious in a big hurry. Velocipede races on canals, using boats powered by velocipedes were a ' thing ', children's velocipedes had wooden horse heads for handbars and wide seated 2 wheelers were sold for ladies. Then they were needed.


View attachment 293020
Sounds less like a wheelchair, which were around, more like someone brilliant put self propelled velocipedes to good use. Quite a few articles like this. 1861

View attachment 293021
This young soldier is just one more example- there are dozens. Before motorized wheelchairs, someone gave wounded soldiers freedom anyway. Love this stuff! If anyone comes across an image, please post? Like I said, have a feeling they looked like the ladies model, top of thread.

Apologies to Mid Century Life forum, thought this belonged in Medical Care, you know?
What an interesting thread !

However, I must say some of those contraptions look extremely uncomfortable to the 'driver' . . . male or female.

:smoke:
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Richard Gatling also designed one. I went to the Patent Office in Alexandria to get a copy. I think you can do that online nowadays.

Goodness. All we hear of is that awful gun- good to know he left something useful behind!

LoC previously had a ton of old patents- they're incredibly cool to browse! Most seem to have been taken down, which is weird. Several flying machines, mechanical babies, a toy monument ( can't imagine it was a big seller-speaking as a former child ) , quite a few floatation devices in the event of shipwreck ( one is an inflatable hat ), under water breathing devices, etc. Luckily downloaded a lot when we could still get them- that Gatling gun is one. Here's my favorite. Mousetrap.

mousetrap.JPG
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Oh, those look like fun! You’d have to be super careful not to catch your skirts though. I/we have my Great Grandmothers bicycle boots. They are burgundy leather, and go all the way up to the knee. Very post war, but super cool. One of these days when I am rich and famous, Imma gonna have copies made so I can wear a pair!

Of course they had special boots! That's wonderful! I sincerely hope you can have your great grandmother's copied AND share them with us- that has to be one of the most interesting family relics I've heard of and we have a ship's hour glass that gauges speed. It's very interesting, those boots top it for cool.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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An article copied in several newspapers the summer of 1864, tells a pathetic story:

Hang on. Unless the story I came across is apocryphal, think I ran into a fund-raiser/velocipede story on these two- a church, maybe? Rats, Jno, now will spend a couple hours making sure these men did indeed get their velocipede. Of course didn't file the snip somewhere easy like ' newsclippings/velocipede '. That would make it too easy.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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What an interesting thread !

However, I must say some of those contraptions look extremely uncomfortable to the 'driver' . . . male or female.

:smoke:
Ha! You know, without getting uncomfortable in topic, can't imagine modern bikes are very much better? You'd think in nearly 200 years of design someone would come up with something well, less dangerous to one's future generations?
 

John Hartwell

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Hang on. Unless the story I came across is apocryphal, think I ran into a fund-raiser/velocipede story on these two- a church, maybe? Rats, Jno, now will spend a couple hours making sure these men did indeed get their velocipede. Of course didn't file the snip somewhere easy like ' newsclippings/velocipede '. That would make it too easy.
I already looked a bit, but couldn't find anything. The story was quoted in a letter calling for "life and limb insurance for soldiers" to cover expenses beyond the minimal pension provisions.
Maybe you'll have better luck.
 

Mrs. V

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#19
Of course they had special boots! That's wonderful! I sincerely hope you can have your great grandmother's copied AND share them with us- that has to be one of the most interesting family relics I've heard of and we have a ship's hour glass that gauges speed. It's very interesting, those boots top it for cool.
174A1C20-0054-4FED-BFDC-84CCBE1A63AB.jpeg
 



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