The Draisine

The first two-wheeled vehicle for personal transportation was invented in 1816 by the German aristocrat Karl Christian Ludwig Drais von Sauerbrohn. The "draisine," as it was named after its inventor, was a very simple machine. One had to push feet against the ground; steering was possible by operating the front wheel. Drais believed that his "running machine" (Laufmaschine) would replace horses as a more efficient and economic vehicle - it would make it possible to save on the cost of oat. Drais, however, did not take into account the practical problems connected to riding draisines. Apart from the easy falls, shoes wore out quite quickly... The draisine became nothing more than a fashionable toy for young aristocrats, also called a "hobby horse." Makers let their imaginations run free, carving out of wood marvellous two-wheeled horses, snakes and elephants.



Second half of the 19th century

Fun Facts

● The first draisine race took place in 1819. The winner, a German named Semmler, covered the 10-km route in 31 and a half minutes.