The velocipede has got into the highest court in England. A lower court has decided that it is unlawful for toll-gate authorities to charge toll for a velocipede ; but the company against whom this decision was rendered, mean to carry the case up to the chief tribunal. The charge of toll was made under the clause empowering to charge for " a foot passenger driving a wheelbarrow." It has also got into the magazines, into the theatres, and into the hearts of the sport-loving community so deep that it will take it a long time to get out. It has a language of its own, and a literature of its own, which is not confined to prose, but includes also rhyme if not poetry. Grave periodicals write dissertations upon it, humorous ones caricature it, the daily press tells very extraordinary yarns about it. For our part we simply endeavor to keep our readers posted upon its progress/ In Boston the municipal authorities have recently granted fourteen licenses for velocipede rinks. Two new styles of velocipede, widish, conflict with no existing pattem,are reported from Woffeesfer, Mass. One of these is to run entirely by friction and the other with common foot paddles. Mr. Calvin Witty has just received the original velocipede __the one built by Pierre Lallement before he had received his patent. It is a good velocipede in every way and has a much better saddle than is manufactured to-day. Lallement was a machinist, and this velocipede proves that he was a good workman. From appearances Lallement has ridden it a good deal. As a curiosity it is very valuable to Mr. Witty. A new style of velocipede was exhibited at Witty's school on Tuesday night. It is a wire velocipede, the wheels being formed of wire entirely. Small thin wire takes the place of spokes,and it is made strong on the Same principle that makes a suspension bridge strong each wire strengthening the others. It is exceedingly light, and there is a slight vibratory motion which is very pleasant; doubtless it would do exceedingly well on the street. When it was run last night upon the new spring floor which Mr. Witty has laid down, the spring was very great. It attracted much attention on the night spoken of. The unreasonableness of prohibiting velocipedes from the public highways is thus satirically spoken of by the New York Herald : " Man's own feet or crutches and a wheeled vehicle with a horse in front these, it seems, must be the Alpha and Omega of locomotion in the city streets. A wheeled vehicle without a horse is a thing so preposterous to the eyes of aldermen that it must be forbidden altogether. Such is the experience of several cities, and our city promises to follow suit. Now, though the horse is favored by popular prejudice, a man may move his wagon with a mule, or a jackass, or a goat, or a dog; but he is not permitted to move it without one of these in front, or he will be fined twenty-five dollars. We recommend the sports to tie their tan terriers in front of the machine with a piece of pink ribbon, and go it on the same dodge adopted for the dummies, where an old blind horse trots in front of the locomotive within city limits. Although the aldermanic abdomen is a guarantee against any experiment of the Fathers on the velocipede, cannot some juvenile of aldermanic lineage convince the old fellows how ridiculous they are in endeavoring to prohibit what only needs regulation V When the machine, or its parts, is beyond the operator's powers, the machine has usurped the place of its governor or manager* Every person running a machine should understand it, sufficiently at least to retain his natural superiority. If not, the machine in hte master, which is reversing the order f nature.
This article was originally published with the title "Velocipede Notes" in Scientific American 20, 16, 251 (April 1869)