AskDefine | Define boneshaker

Dictionary Definition

boneshaker n : any wheeled vehicle that is dilapidated and uncomfortable; "that old bike without rubber tires was a real boneshaker"

Extensive Definition

Boneshaker is a name used from about 1869 up to the present time, to refer to the first type of true bicycle with pedals, which was called "velocipede" (from the Latin for "fast foot") by its manufacturers. "Boneshaker" refers to the extremely uncomfortable ride, which was caused by the stiff wrought-iron frame and wooden wheels surrounded by tires made of iron.
This type of bicycle was invented in 1863 by Pierre Lallement, first manufactured by the Michaux company from 1867 to 1869 — the time of the first bicycle craze, and copied by many others during that time. It fell out of favor after the summer of 1869, and was replaced in 1870 with the type of bicycle called "ordinary", "high-wheel", or "penny-farthing".
There are very few original boneshakers still in existence today, most having been melted for scrap metal during World War I, and those which do surface from time to time command high prices, typically up to about $5,000 US.
Also sometimes spelled "bone-shaker".
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