The bicycle

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PPT looking at the evolution and impact of the bicycle

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What is the world’s the most important technological innovation? :

What is the world’s the most important technological innovation?

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Q: What is the most important technological innovation in the last 200 years?

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Now give SOCIAL reasons for why this innovation was so important. How has it affected how people interact with others?

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What CULTURAL impact did this innovation make? How did it change the ways in which people live their lives?

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What SCIENTIFIC impact did this innovation make? Did it lead to further scientific and technological developments?

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Report back Group work 5 minutes:

My answer::

My answer: The bicycle

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There are approximately a billion bikes in current use in the world.

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The evolution of the bicycle

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The Walking Machine In 1817 Baron von Drais invented a walking machine. The device was propelled by pushing your feet against the ground. The machine became known as the Draisienne or hobby horse. It was made entirely of wood. This enjoyed a short lived popularity as a fad, not being practical for transportation in any other place than a well maintained pathway.

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Pierre Lallement (1843-1891) could be the inventor of the bicycle (although then referred to as the velocipede.) As a 19-year-old maker of baby carriages in Nancy, France in 1862, Lallement saw someone ride by on a hobby horse, and was inspired to build one of his own, but with the addition of a crank and pedals attached to the front-wheel hub, succeeding in creating the first true bicycle.

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The ‘High Wheel Bicycle’ aka ‘The Penny Farthing’ In 1870 the first all metal machine appeared. Solid rubber tires and the long spokes of the large front wheel provided a much smoother ride than the velocipede. The front wheels became larger as the larger the wheel, the farther you could travel with one rotation of the pedal. This machine was the first one to be called a bicycle. These bicycles enjoyed a great popularity among wealthy young men (they cost an average worker six month's pay), with the hey-day being the decade of the 1880s. What problems were there with this design?

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The Hard-Tyred Safety Bicycle The next design was a return to the two same-size wheels, only now, instead of just one wheel circumference for every pedal turn, you could, through the gear ratios, have a speed the same as the huge high-wheel. The bicycles still had the hard rubber tyres and the ride was much more uncomfortable than the penny farthing. Many of these bicycles had front and/or rear suspensions. These designs competed with each other, your choice being the penny farthing’s comfort or the Safety's safety, but the next innovation led to the death of the penny farthing design.

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The Pneumatic-Tyred Safety The pneumatic tyre was first applied to the bicycle by an Irish vet called Dunlop who was trying to give his young son a more comfortable ride on his tricycle. Expanded production brought down prices of bicycles and it was a practical investment for the working man as transportation. By 1905 virtually every working man owned a bicycle. Cyclists lobbied for better roads, literally paving the road for the automobile.

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In 1895 Frances Willard wrote ‘How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle’, in which she praised the bicycle she learned to ride late in life, and which she named "Gladys", for its "gladdening effect" on her health and political optimism (endorphins?)

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The backlash against the New (bicycling) Woman was demonstrated when the male undergraduates of Cambridge University in 1897 showed their opposition to the admission of women as full members of the university by hanging an effigy of a woman in the main town square …tellingly, a woman on a bicycle . The bicycle craze in the 1890s also led to a movement for so-called rational dress , which helped liberate women from corsets and ankle-length skirts, substituting the then-shocking bloomers.

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As bicycles became safer and cheaper, more women had access to the personal freedom they offered, and so the bicycle came to symbolise the New Woman of the late nineteenth century. Feminists and suffragists recognised its power. In 1896 Susan B. Anthony said: "Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood."

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Bicycle manufacturing proved to be a training ground for other industries and led to the development of advanced metalworking techniques, both for the frames themselves and for components such as ball bearings, washers, and sprockets. These techniques later enabled metalworkers and mechanics to develop the components used in early motorbikes , cars and aircraft . J. K. Starley's company became the Rover Cycle Company Ltd. in the late 1890s, and then simply the Rover Company when it started making cars. The Morris Motor Company (in Oxford) and Škoda also began in the bicycle business, as did the Wright Brothers who went on to develop aircraft. aircraft alloy sealed bearings hydraulic disc brakes air and hydraulic suspension carbon

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How many applications of cycling can you think of? 5 minutes Report back

Why is the bicycle the most important technological innovation?:

Why is the bicycle the most important technological innovation? It gave mobility to the world It helped liberate women It led to the development of ‘metalled’ roads It assisted the development of motorbikes, cars and aircraft (plus reverse technology transfer) It gets people to work and enables them to work It has a low carbon footprint It keeps you fit It reduces obesity It reduces stress by encouraging endorphin release It gives you freedom

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