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Catalog Data

wheel: 4 ft x 8 ft; x 1.2192 m x 2.4384 m
overall: 93 in x 93 in x 46 1/2 in; 236.22 cm x 236.22 cm x 118.11 cm
Object Name:
Other Terms:
Monocycle; Road
Associated Place:
United States: Rhode Island
Date made:
Allen Greene and Elisha Dyer of Providence, Rhode Island, received patent No. 91535 on June 22, 1869, for an improvement in the velocipede. This monocycle represents their invention, but is missing parts specified in their patent. The patent describes the use of foot-treadles, but no treadles now exist, nor is there evidence of how they might have functioned. In correspondence with the Museum, the donor wrote that the vehicle reportedly “cracked up” on its first trial run and proved unsatisfactory.
The monocycle has 24 wooden spokes and a wooden rim, with a thin metal band sunk into the rim to serve as a tire. The diameter of the wheel is 8 feet, and its thickness at the center, 4 feet. The bowed spokes radiating in from the rim connect alternately to hubs on each side, composed of two metal discs bolted together, so that 12 of the spokes are clamped between each pair of discs. Within the center of the cage a seat is suspended from short shafts extending inwards from the two hubs. Small hand-cranks are also attached to the framework near the short shaft extensions, which were supposedly used in conjunction with the treadle to propel the machine. It is not clear how they worked, for the cranks are now inoperative and the treadle is missing. Outer extensions of the hub shafts carry an iron fitting from which two trailing legs hung on either side. These were intended to support the monocycle when it was at rest and to assist the operator in starting from a standstill.
Currently not on view
Credit Line:
Gift of W. Easton Louttit, Jr.
ID Number:
Catalog number:
Accession number:
See more items in:
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
America on the Move
Data Source:
National Museum of American History