Etching drawn and etched by Isaac Robert Cruikshank. It shows a perspiring man riding a hobby horse which has been adapted to tow a kind of cart on which a plump well-dresed woman and a child are riding. The forerunner of the bicycle, the 'hobby' or 'dandy horse' was invented by the German Baron Karl von Drais in France in 1817. It was introduced to England the following year by Denis Johnson, a London coachmaker. Hobby horses had no pedals, but were propelled by the rider pushing on the ground with his feet. As there were no brakes, the feet had to be dragged to slow the machine. Johnson started a school where prospective purchasers could learn how to ride the machine and, in 1819, fashionable London was gripped by the hobby horse craze.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library