We here at Forgotten Stories remember when carpenter jeans and cell phones became popular simultaneously; the handy carpenter’s pocket proved just the place to store the phone. Dual fashion trends weren’t a stranger to the bicycle craze either, just at time the bicycle were becoming popular in 1869, long mustaches for men were en vogue, and the ladies took good advantage of the trend.
An inventive Parisian, M. de La Rue, perhaps because he lacked a nifty mustache, instead invented a tachypodascaphe to impress his female friends, which he took out on the Seine. Of course, inviting a proper Frenchwoman to “Ride my tachypodascaphe” would produce a quizzical eyebrow at best, and a slap in the face at worst, so de La Rue nicknamed his creation “The Insubmersible.” Two pontoons, joined with four iron cross beams, supported a paddle wheel, which could be ridden just like a bicycle. In the event of poor weather, The Insubmersible came equipped with a sail. “As a pleasure craft, this ingenious contrivance will doubtless become popular,” said Frank Leslie’s of April 24, 1869. We here at Forgotten Stories hope that happens soon, we’re looking forward to riding one.
Meanwhile, the British Army began exploring the uses of the bicycle in military applications. Unfortunately, the multi-cycle, manned by ten to twelve men who carried an ammunition storage cart behind them, proved unsuitable for military use.
*** – Update – We did a bit of hunting in the world of Latin, and Tachypodascaphe means “Rapid Foot Ship,” viz Tachy (Rapid) Poda (Foot) Caphe (Ship)