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Welcome to the Karl-Drais memorial on karldrais.de!

Bild: Karl Drais © Prof. Dr. H. E. Lessing
Karl Drais © Prof. Dr. H. E. Lessing
Bild: Drais' live mask 1818 © Prof. Dr. H. E. Lessing
Drais' live mask 1818 © Prof. Dr. H. E. Lessing
2007 marked the 190th anniversary of the two-wheeler invention. This is considered to be the big bang of personal mobility, since thousands of men sat on machines instead of horses for the first time and rode into the surroundings individually. Yet after worldwide prohibition of the running machines collective transport by the new railways stole the show from them.

The inventor came from a family of civil servants without landed property, but laid down his nobility titles during the Badenian Revolution to be merely citizen Karl Drais. After worldwide fame he was prosecuted from age 50 on by the authorities and monarchists for his democratic convictions culminating in an attempted murder. After his death monarchists made him and his invention look silly by starting tall stories in a purposeful manner.

Thus unheard news on Drais will be found clicking through the following pages and the circumstances of his life.



Lessing's thesis published in 1996 recently met with disbelief, mainly since no Drais testimonial has been printed in 1817 for the two-wheeler. People unfamiliar with the rigorous press censorship then in Germany don't understand, that a testimonial relating to the simultaneous hunger catastrophe would be rejected by newspaper editors or printers alike, lest the whole print run would be confiscated.

Bild: Horse mortality was talked about in 1816/17
Horse mortality was talked about in 1816/17


Chronology of facts:

Oviously Drais' inventions followed the earliest and then again to the worst crop failure. Before the stepped-up censorship we have the testimonial of the inventor: horse replacement. That three years later in extremis Drais should have switched his motive to a machine for sports, appears downright absurd. After censorship had been relieved, contemporaries confirmed horse replacement as Drais's motive.
Bild: left: hunger breads 1817, right: censored newspaper 1817
left: hunger breads 1817, right: censored newspaper 1817



Bild:
Just released: Lessing/Lawrence eds: A Carriage That Goes Without Horses – Early writings on the Laufmaschine by Karl von Drais (Cycling History #8), 66 pages, V-CC Book Sales £ 5.00 + £ 1.50 p&p within UK, for others ask



Bild:
This memorial is able to describe his life, achievements and importance merely in a compressed way. An extensive biography of Karl Drais is given in the book "Automobilität - Karl Drais und die unglaublichen Anfänge" by Hans-Erhard Lessing.
Maxime Verlag , Leipzig, 528 pages, 32 €. ISBN 3-931965-22-8



Images of Drais - politicallly correct or not?
Bild: 1819 authentic          /        1891 anti-democratic smear-sheet on transfer of his mortal remains
1819 authentic          /        1891 anti-democratic smear-sheet on transfer of his mortal remains


© Sören Fink with scientific support of Prof. Dr. H. E. Lessing