Who Was Baron Von Drais?

Baron Karl Von Drais was a German inventor that developed the Laufmaschine. The Laufmaschine, also referred to as the running machine or dandy horse, was the first personal transportation option that consisted of two wheels.

Baron Karl Von Drais was born on April 29, 1785. He studied physics, agriculture and architecture at the University of Heidelberg from 1803 to 1805. After completing his studies, Drais worked as a forestry official. He advanced to become a teacher within his uncle's forestry school. In 1810, Baron Karl Von Drais earned the title of chief forester. A year later, Drais was suspended from service but still received commission. This allowed him to focus on developing his inventions.

Baron Karl Von Drais' most noble invention was the Laufmaschine. The Laufmaschine was similar to the modern bicycle, with the only major difference being that the Laufmaschine did not have pedals. Riders sat on a cushioned seat while using their feet to push the Laufmaschine forward. Handlebars steered the device.

Baron Karl Von Drais died on Dec. 10, 1851 in his hometown of Karlsruhe. At the time of his death, Drais was financially broke. In the 1860s, inventors in France reconstructed the Laufmaschine to include pedals and rotary cranks.