Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cycles with Guns (1896)

Army Bikes 1896
Two "Army Bicycles" shown at trade show at Madison Square Garden

Article text that accompanied above illustrations is below, from Scientific American, February 8, 1896.
The new army tandem and the model 40, mounted with a Colt's automatic machine gun which have been made by the Pope Manufacturing Company, were exhibited at the Madison Square Garden Cycle Show and attracted great attention.

The tandem is one of the Pope Company's regular model 43s taken directly from stock and finished plainly in enamel and nickel. On the front handle bars are tightly strapped two army overcoats, and on the rear bars a pair of blankets. Resting safely in brackets on either side of the machine is a twelve shot repeating rifle, and hanging on each seat post a Colt quick action revolver of the latest pattern. In addition to this there is a case of signal flags extending almost the whole length of the machine, but not interfering with the riders in the least; and this is the case with all the equipments, being as well and safely placed, ready for use in a moment, and yet causing not the slightest interference.

The Colt automatic gun mounted on the model 40 is the one recently adopted by the government for our navy. This gun weighs between thirty-nine and forty pounds, shoots two hundred and fifty or five hundred times—being automatically fed—and is remarkably accurate. It is fastened securely to the head of the machine, can be easily directed at any angle, and does not interfere with the rider or affect the steering of the machine.

These two wheels are as perfectly equipped with the necessary accouterments of war as would seem possible, and the interest which army people and civilians alike have shown in them leads one to believe that it will not be long before the wheel will form a very effective adjunct to regular army service.
For good or bad, cycles as a part of warfare didn't catch on. Original article is here.

1 comment:

  1. I sometimes wish I had the configuration from my top bike for the leg of my commute around the Mall during peak tourist season. LOL :)