The century-old Edison-Puton Monowheel
The annual Cholmondeley Pageant of Power in the U.K. never fails to deliver something special and this year that exotic ingredient is a 1910 Edison-Puton Monowheel. Capable of being ogled by engineers for hundreds of hours at a time, the Monowheel was built in Paris in 1910, and bears testimony to human folly at its most ingenious.
There's something special for me about monowheels - those with gyroscopic balancers excepted. They look like they don't work, and they almost work practically, but not quite. They are however, a spectacle for the eye of any human with an interest in physics.
Despite the seeming obvious, the monowheel has been persevered with for well over 100 years as a viable solution to personal transportation needs. I dips me lid to the tenacity of the inventors, but without intelligent balancing, the monowheel is likely to remain a circus act as to me at least, it always looks like an accident about to happen.
The 1910 Edison-Puton Monowheel on show at Cholmondeley has the frame, rider and a 150cc De Dion engine enclosed by the wheel.
A look back through history shows that at least 40 major monowheel projects have been undertaken between 1867 and now, and though many have displayed sheer engineering genius in order to bring them into vague usefulness, very few have seen service as genuine transport enablers.
The Edison-Puton Monowheel normally resides at the Auto & Technik Museum at Sinsheim, Germany.
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The Edison-Pluton had the problems of being very fast, having a large mass with ineffective breaks at a time when roads were designed to be navigated by horse and cart , it was without the means to take a turn safely on Britains cobbled streets (The first Tires were not made untill 1911). I believe the vulcanised rubber Tyres were the important missing element, which would have also solved the breaking problems but by then the Motorcycle and Automobile had arrived.
Also was a feature of Steamboy(Katsuhiro Otomo), set at the great expedition in 1851 where it is a steam powered vehicle.
Tires have existed ever since the first time somebody put a better wearing surface on his wheel. I have seen plenty of steel tires, the first successful pneumatic tire wasn't until 1911 but that depends on how you choose to define successful.
Hit the brakes and keep on rolling, this time the occupant rolling with the wheel. Until you hit the thing you're trying to avoid.
Been done (http://www.gizmag.com/gyroscopic-personal-transportation/22060/).