Image description: In 1817, Karl Drais, a young inventor in Baden, Germany, designed and built a two-wheeled, wooden vehicle that was straddled and propelled by walking swiftly. Drais called it the laufmaschine or “running machine.”
By 1818, the draisine craze reached the United States, but the high cost of the vehicle, combined with its lack of practical value, made it little more than an expensive toy. The two-wheeled vehicle would not become sustained until pedals were added in the late 1800s.
Photo from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History