Catalog Archive
Auction 189, Lot 724

Earliest American Illustration of Drais’ Proto-Bicycle “Pedestrian’s Hobby Horse”

"[Invention of the Bicycle] "Pedestrian's Hobby Horse" [in] The Philadelphia Register, and National Recorder. Vol. I. Saturday, May 15, 1819. No. 20",

Subject: Document - Invention of the Bicycle

Period: 1819 (published)


Color: Black & White

5.6 x 9.4 inches
14.2 x 23.9 cm
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This lot includes all 26 disbound issues of The Philadelphia Register for the year 1819. Featured within the May 15th issue is a half-page illustration of a man riding the Drais Laufmachin, or running machine, here called the “Pedestrian’s Hobby Horse.” The illustration is accompanied by an enthusiastic article, “The swiftness with which a person well practiced can travel is almost beyond belief…” The running machine consisted of a seat and two wheels propelled by feet and is generally considered the precursor of the bicycle. Click here to read more. This sketch precedes another illustration of the cycle that appeared in The Analectic Magazine of June 1819 that has been cited as the earliest American illustration of Drais’ invention. There is another short article on the invention in the May 8th issue, and numerous articles on slavery, the Yellowstone Expedition and current events. Includes the title page and index for all the 1819 issues. Disbound.


Condition: B

Disbound with light to moderate toning. The illustration has a few ink spots.

Estimate: $140 - $170

Sold for: $325

Closed on 9/14/2022