Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Vintage Compressed Air Bike

(click on image to enlarge)

This diagram is of a compressed air powered bicycle, from 1902.

Not sure if this bicycle came into fruition after it was patented, but the idea of compressed air bicycles has come in a few other designs, as well.

Below is the write-up on this vehicle from the Unusual Pedal Bikes Museum:


This machine was to have been driven primarily by pedal, but using a reservoir of compressed-air as an energy-storage system. It has a compressed-air motor linked to the pedal cranks, fed from the reservoir under the top tube. This is pumped up by the ten-cylinder compressor built into the rear wheel. I assume that the wheel part would have to be the compressor as otherwise it would be impossible to utilise the energy available when free-wheeling downhill. The compressed-air motor appears to be the small box above the top tube, but it is not very clear how the links to the cranks are driven.

It is however very clear indeed that the weight of the ten-cylinder wheel would be an impossible burden for a cyclist. The inefficiency involved in compressing air (the heat generated by the compression usually being lost) would also argue against this system being of any use to man or beast.

This sadly hopeless attempt at a worthy end was patented by William Rutherford Taylor, a cycle fitter and agent of Bo'ness, Scotland. It seems very unlikely that this idea even got to the prototype stage.

Related posts:
- Air Powered BIcycle
- ElectroAirBike hybrid
- Pneumatic Bicycle

Recommended Links:
- Air-Powered-Vehicles community forum
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum

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