Riding Giant Mechanical Tricycles In 1896
This giant eight man tricycle was indeed a promotional stunt, used to promote “VIM” tires made by the Boston Woven Hose and Rubber Company, around 1896.
It takes eight men to propel it, and was built complete at the company’s factory in Cambridgeport, from plans by John Dewolfe, the mechanical expert of the company. Many attempts have been made in the past to build giant machines, either bicycles or tricycles, but none of them have ever been successful, faulty construction proving the obstacle to the success of all previous similar undertakings. This tricycle has already been used with success at meets near Boston, and has been ridden over the road seme few miles around that city.
The extreme height of the machine is about eleven feet, which is the diameter of the larger wheels and tires when inflated; the cross section of the two tires is sixteen inches. These are the natural rubber color. The smaller or guiding wheel has a diameter of six feet with a cross section of nine inches.
This tire is of the floxine color, which this company has used to characterize its product this year. The three tires are exactly the same in construction as the regular VIM tire put out by the firm, and has its pebble tread. The machine weighs 1,453 lbs without the eight men, who weigh approximately 1,120 lbs more. This makes the whole thing 2,573 lbs.
In construction it is analogous to the locomotive, having in reality a double set of gears. The four men on one side are geared to the wheel of that side, and the four men on the other side are geared to the other wheel. It will be ridden through the streets every day during the meet at Louisville by a picked crew of men.