JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
Today I joked with a neighbor that my car was so old that it has wooden seat belts. At least it has seat belts, no thanks to the early (pre-1989) efforts of people like Lee Ioccoca to prevent having them automatically installed, and unlike the Flintstones and Jimmy Rockford and others who had no seat belts at all--it is more like Granny's rope-belt in the Beverly Hillbillies. Be that as it may, this bicycle is a much better creation than my seat belts. The image appeared in the Scientific American for February 1, 1896, a half tongue-in-check proposal at a time of a great bicycle craze. Even though millions of bicycles were being made, a decent one could cost you $25, which would (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator) would be about $750-$1000 today--not nothing. So this Modest Proposal on making a bike from bits, found wood, and a quarter.