Pierre Lallement - Inventor of the Pedal Bicycle
History of modern bicycle was shaped by many inventors from Europe, but one of the most important ones was without any doubt French engineer and carriage
maker Pierre Lallement (1843 - 1891). During the course of his life, Lallement managed to drastically improve the technical capabilities of the first
generation of bicycles, and has worked on several bicycle models which managed to find their way to the mass production in Europe.
Pierre Lallement was born on October 25, 1843 in a city of Pont-à-Mousson near Nancy, France. Before reaching age of 20, he was already an accomplished
maker of baby carriages, which gave him the skills to easily build anything he wanted. In 1862 he noticed fist model of Dandy Horse being driven on the
streets. Interested in the designs of the Baron Karl Drais that were made several decades earlier, he started devising plan how to provide better
experience to the driver. In original dandy horse designs, driver of this vehicle had to reach with his legs to the ground, attaining speed by walking or
running before he could lift legs in the air and then coast. Lallement changed this formula by adding simple transmission mechanism on the axle of the
front bicycle wheel. This transmission mechanism consisted from rotary crank and pedals. By adding these simple additions to the dandy horse, Pierre
Lallement has managed to create first ever true bicycle in the world.
However he could not achieve success with his bicycle design in his home town. Because of that he moved to Paris in 1863 where he found business partners
with Olivier brothers (Aimé, René, and Marius) and Pierre Michaux. This group of people was responsible for formation of the first factory for mass
production of the bicycles in the world. They produced and sold 2-wheeled velocipede made entirely from wood, quickly becoming famous around France for
their bicycle model that was nicknamed Boneshaker. During that time, Pierre Lallement and Pierre Michaux entered into dispute about the ownership of the
designs of those bicycles, which caused fallout between them.
After those initial problems with the Pierre Michaux, Pierre Lallement went to settle in America in 1865 where he managed to find home in Ansonia,
Connecticut. There he continued to work on evolving design of bicycles, managing to secure US patient for bicycle with better frame, pedals and more
comfortable seat than other bicycles of that time. In the next two decades, Lallement traveled between Paris and United States, trying to secure funds for
organized manufacture of bicycles and fighting in courts about patents.
He died on August 29 in 1891, without receiving recognition for being the first man who has put pedals on the dandy horse. This recognition arrived much
latter when many international organizations awarded him with posthumous awards and hall of fame inductions.