Why people laugh at Baron Drais and his running machine?

Baron Drais, running machine

A German baron, Karl Friedrich, Christian Ludwig, Drais von Sauerbronn, caused a stir in 1813. He appeared in the streets of Mannheim, seated astride a two-wheeled machine which he pushed along with his feet. People laughed at his so-called ‘running machine’ and were astonished that a man could keep his balance on two wheels, set one behind the other.

Drais established that he could travel four times as quickly as a walker, and his machine sparked off a new craze. Similar machines, called Dandy Horses, were soon beng ridden in stylish parks all over Europe.

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