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In the intentions of its inventor, the German aristocrat Karl Drais, the draisine would have replaced horses as a more efficient vehicle for personal transportation. Drais, however, did not take into account the practical problems connected to riding draisines: apart from the easy falls due to slippery ground, shoes - not as resistant as horses' hooves - wore out quite quickly.


During the 1848-49 German Revolution, which culminated in the proclamation of the Badenian Republic, Drais renounced his title of nobility, naming himself instead "citizen Karl Drais". For this reason, Drais and his draisine became the target of royalist satire.


The "hobby horse" was introduced to England by Denis Johnson, a coachmaker of Long Acre, London, who called it a "pedestrian curricle". He also started a school where prospective buyers could learn how to ride the machine. Fashionable London society was soon gripped by a hobby horse craze.


Match against Time, or Wood beats Blood and Bone
19th century

The image represents a race between a horse and a hobby horse. It is significantly titled "Match against Time, or Wood beats Blood and Bone". The subtitle alludes to the fashionability of hobby horses among London "dandies".

  fun facts  


The first draisine race took place in 1819. The winner, a German named Semmler, covered the 10 km of the route in 31 and a half minutes.

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