Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Monowheel Extravaganza!

I have to admit something regarding some previous aadventures I've shared here. No no, I'm not about to say the adventures were made up fantasies or exaggerated even in the least so fear not! The good captain's tales are every bit as real as Baron Munchausen's himself!

No, what I must admit is that I've become quite addicted to "Help Me" by the Alkaline Trio, featured in the April 17th post, Steampunk Adventures of an Acoustic Nature. Watching that video repeatedly got the song stuck in my head, and now I happily sing along while watching it! To the point however, watching the video had me curious about the monowheel seen racing ahead of the locomotive. Ever since watching Steamboy I fell in love with the idea of the monowheel and thought how useful it would be having one (or several) available on the Anomaly Obscura Engine.

After some investigation the good captain has discovered the idea behind the monowheel is actually approaching it's 150th birthday! Here is a lovely image of the very first one made in 1869 by Rousseau of Marseilles:
steampunk monowheel
A most elegant design, however the lack of rubber tires at the time means the stiff outer wheel and lack of shocks would make this a most uncomfortable ride. Also, there's no actual steering, the handle bars are for holding onto as well as braking! (twisting them pulls taught a leather strap across the inner wheel, slowing the monowheel down, or something like that as I understand it)

The next monowheel that caught my eye was an early motorized one, while I appreciate the exercise involved in peddling my monowheel the good captain also has a reputation for idleness that must be respected. Which brings us to the D'Harlingue Monowheel developed in 1917 by Alfred E. D'Harlingue, seen in the picture below in the driver's seat.
steampunk monowheelAs you can see this is a much more involved vision of the monowheel, though I do find it wonderfully steampunk despite it's diesel powered motor...it's the spirit that counts! This invention is powered by the small prop engine and propeller meaning nothing to pedal, meaning reputation for idleness would remain intact, however I fear there would some issue with noise and tussled hair... the latter of course being unacceptable!

This next one is in my most humble opinion, the most beautiful of the monowheels. Designed by Erich Edison-Putnam in 1910.
steampunk monowheelThis is just a thing of beauty to my eyes. The wooden rim, brass horn, and of course stylishly dressed driver all contribute to this lovely image. I could easily see myself rolling leisurely down a forgotten country road or outracing a steaming locomotive in the high desert in this!

The final wonderful invention is not a monowheel, it's a diwheel! Not as elegant as the monowheel but capable of carrying a passenger. I can see this as a backup vehicle for when taking a certain yound lady out to a picnic whereas a monowheel might prove inadvertantly ungentlemanly.
steampunk diwheelNamed Ezekiel's Wheel after the first chapter of Ezekiel from the Bible, it was actually built some time in the 1980's but looks lusciously steampunk, brass levers and all! (I understand the bumpkin is not included)

While you plan for the first monowheel invitational race extravaganza I do expect you to be back at work, so get on with it! The work that is, though I do expect an invitation to the race...

(all of these and many many more can be found HERE!

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