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Bikes - An Illustrated History


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The Boneshaker - Invented by Michaux and Lallement
Pierre Lallement's 1866 patent for an early boneshaker bike.

Pierre Lallement's 1866 patent for an early boneshaker bike.

United States Patent Office

Many historians credit Pierre and Ernest Michaux as being the true inventors of the modern bicycle. This father and son duo operated a company that made carriages in Paris when they first assembled a two-wheeled vélocipède around 1867. This bike was was propelled like a tricycle, with its cranks and pedals connected to the front wheel.

The design soon came to the U.S. when a Michaux employee named Pierre Lallement who also claimed credit for the idea, saying he developed the prototype in 1863, set out for America. He filed for the first bicycle patent with the U.S. patent office in 1866.

The vélocipède ("fast foot") was also known as the "boneshaker" thanks to its rough ride, caused by its stiff iron frame and wooden wheels wrapped in an iron rim.

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