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Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 29: Gottlieb Daimler patents the first motorcycle on this date in 1885



Tucked on the back of the fairway at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2012 was this contraption, which looks like a cross between a bicycle and some kind of 19th-century medical device.
 Brought by Mercedes, it's a replica of the world's first motorcycle — an attempt by Gottlieb Daimler to explore how he might package the four-stroke gasoline engine invented by Nicolaus Otto.
While there had been a steam-powered two-wheeler before, Daimler's invention, patented 128 years ago today, is generally considered the primordial vehicle from which modern motorcycles and automobiles evolved.
 (The real item was lost in a fire during the 1930s.) Here's a close-up of another replica demonstrating how a rider might try to control it: