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The Family Bicycle

Count Julias Caesar was a sponsor of Karl von Drais, who developed the Draisine, which later evolved into the bicycle as we know it today and his involvement seems to have been quite pivotal in its design evolution.

DraisineBicycleIn 1817, the Count ordered a specific model be made for his 16 year old son, Victor. This prototype for the height adjustable running machine, with its 24 inch wheels, and a sturdy forearm rests the bike resembles a modern off-roader. Lessing’s book Automobilitaet, suggests the height adjustment was intended to allow both father and son to ride the machine, and this innovation was a critical evolutionary step in the design – moving from the customised sizes of previous models for an individual into vehicles that could be used by several people.

The Reuttner draisine (1817) is the earliest example of such a vehicle, and was made by von Drais himself. It is particularly important, as it predates any design or drawings of the height adjustability concept, which was first written about by von Drais in 1820 a full three years later.

Victor’s son, Count Camill loaned this important historical item to the Deutsche Museum in Munich in 1884, where it is exhibited.

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