The Boneshaker



A “boneshaker”, one of the ancestors of the penny farthing and the modern bicycle.

The boneshaker was invented c 1860. Its main improvement over the earlier Dandy Horse was the provision of pedals attached to the front wheel, by means of which the rider could (with a great deal of physical effort, no doubt!), propel the vehicle through the streets. The ride would have been physically demanding but also uncomfortable, as the wheels did not have inflatable tyres and the experience of riding the vehicle across rough cobbled streets would no doubt have shaken the rider to the bone!

The first pedal-driven bicycle had been invented in 1839 by Kirkpatrick MacMillan (1813-1878), who rode the machine from his home in Dumfriesshire to Glasgow in 1842. He was fined 5 shillings for knocking down a young girl while hurtling through the Gorbals.

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