1932 – Mechanical Horse ( Bicycle ) – Sam Barton (U.K.)

 

The picture below clearly shows the foot positioning for bicycle pedals.

Photographs are shown also of Mr. Sam Barton, the
British vaudeville artist, astride his mechanical
horse.

From San Antonio Light 4 December 1932

Everybody knows the advantages of the automobile over the horse, but why should Sam Barton fancy Unit there is "any future" for his robot Dobbin which occasionally canters about London astonishing motorists as much as the first motor cars astonished the horses of their day?
"Because," answers Barton, who is a trick cyclist on the stage when he isn't trying to be fifty years ahead of his times mechanically, "the horse has certain advantages over the automobile."
There is no doubt about that. Doctors have ordered patients to ride horseback in, the, belief that "the outside of a horse is often the'best thing for the irisides of a man." Unfortunately, horses shy at papers blowing in the wind, at sounds, smells, and most anything, which is not a safe thing to have happen in traffic. Also, as former President Coolidge discovered, they have "horse dandruff," which 13 very bad for certain cases of hay fever.
So Mr. Coolidge and others rode a stationary electric horse, which bounced them up and down indoors before an open window, and they did not do it as much as the doctor ordered because it is not a very interesting1 sport. Barton has built a horse that eliminates all these drawbacks. He guarantees that it is innocent of dandruff, won't shy when you are on the streets, not keep you awake nights by stamping, neighing or whinneying, won't run alway, even if stung by a bumblebee, nor throw up its head and break your nose if a horse-fly lights on its neck, nor kick, and it will stand without hitching. And it doesn't have to be fed and watered. The weakness of this, his first model, is that it provides too much exercise for the mileage because the motive power is the rider's own legs which work pedals that move the four feet, causing the mechanical horse to walk, canter, trot and even jump. However, now that he has worked out the mechanics of the horse's footwork, he is planning a bigger and better Dobbin, which will be driven by a gas engine and should do thirty miles an hour. He is pained to learn, however, that he will have to carry lights at night and a motor license at all times.

The above pics are still from an on-line video clip of Sam Barton riding his trick bicycle. Alas it does not show the 'horse'.

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