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Bicycles...getting a handle on technology

Bicycles: getting a handle on technology

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Many materials were experimented with so a bicycle would have just the right feel to it. Wood was used in most early models, but then people began fashioning bikes out of metal. When racing and traveling faster became more important, manufacturers began using aluminum piping for the frames, which was much lighter. Even though automobiles didn't catch on until the 20th century, people kept experimenting with how to make bicycles better, faster, and more powerful. The very first automobile was a tricycle that put a steam engine to use.
back view of first automobile front view of first automobile riders on the first automobile
These pictures show a front and a back view of the very first automobile and people enjoying a ride on it. The vehicle was a tricycle equipped with a Lucius D. Copeland steam engine of 2600 R.P.M. and Silsby Type Boiler operating at 100 lbs. It used kerosene for fuel, and was built in Camden, New Jersey in 1887 by the Northrop Manufacturing Co.

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Content - The Franklin Institute Online "Inquiry Attic" (June/July '99)

Note: The objects pictured above are part of The Franklin Institute's protected collection of objects. The images are The Franklin Institute. All rights are reserved.

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