Thursday, April 11, 2019

Lucius D Copeland of Phoenix, Arizona, US was issued with a United States patent for his steam-powered bicycle and is sometimes classed as an early motorcycle.

In 1881 Copeland designed an efficient small steam boiler which could drive the large rear wheel of a Columbia penny-farthing to a speed of 12 miles per hour (19 km/h). Unlike typical penny-farthing bicycles, the Copeland had small wheel at the front, which was turned by the handlebar for steering, and large wheel at the back.

Peter Gagan, a former president of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America, was able to trace an 1884 "Star" bicycle with an original Copeland steam engine to the Phoenix Museum of History. Gagan took sufficiently detailed measurements to create a full-scale, working replica, which was hurriedly assembled to feature at the Guggenheim's 'The Art of the Motorcycle' Exhibition when it opened on The Las Vegas Strip in October 2001.

 This finished replica of the original Copeland "Star" is now the oldest motorcycle design in operable condition in the world.

Copeland didn't stop there, he set up the Northrop Manufacturing Co. in 1887 in Camden, New Jersey to produce the a three-wheeled version, the "Phaeton Moto-Cycle", which he demonstrated at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C in 1888.

which is at this entrance to the Smithsonian Castle

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