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Reproduction of 1818 Hobby Horse

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Reproduction of 1818 Hobby Horse
Negative #: 17-206


This object appears in the following sections:

Smithsonian Bicycle Collection — The collection, 1818-1869

Hobby Horse reproduction
Catalog #: 308,263, Accession #: 71,392
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection
This reproduction of the Pedestrian Curricle, or Hobby Horse, popularized in England in 1818 by Denis Johnson, was used in 1923 in the motion picture Our Hospitality.
Physical Description

Artifact. A wooden bar, 55 inches long, and curved downwards slightly in the center, supports by means of iron braces a wheel in the rear. A vertical iron fork, supporting another wheel, is pivoted at the front of the bar. The fork is steered by means of a curved tongue attached to the bottom of the fork. A wooden armrest for the rider is mounted upon iron braces at the front of the bar. A felt saddle is carried on the center of the bar. Each wheel is 30 inches in diameter and contains eight spokes. The spokes, hubs, and felloes are of wood, with the spokes staggered in the hubs. Narrow iron tires are fitted to the felloes.

Date Made:
Dates Used:
Gift of Buster Keaton
Bicycles were known by many names in the late 18th and early 19th century. In the early 19th century, what was then called a velocipede migrated from France to England, and was known variously as a Draisine, Swiftwalker, Hobby Horse, Dandy Horse, or Pedestrian Curricle. Hobby Horses were popular from a brief time in the late 1810s and early 1820s. They then fell out of fashion.

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