{Disarmed} The prodigy that taught us the future of electric scooters was called Autoped, and it was already in use in 1915

The prodigy that taught us the future of electric scooters was called Autoped, and it was already in use in 1915

In 1915 there weren't even traffic lights in America. There were still 15 years left before they began to be used, but the Autoped was already there, a unique combustion engine skateboard that was ahead of its time and has proven to be a prodigious predecessor of current electric scooters.

This scooter was created that year in New York . Its success was remarkable and it even ended up being used by celebrities of the time such as the suffragette Lady Norman, who used it to go to the office. It was not the only one: even the famous pilot Amelia Earhart would end up trying it years later.

A century ahead of its time

As noted in the Smithsonian Magazine , the patent for the "self-propelled vehicle" went to Hugo Cecil Gibson , although designer Joseph F. Merkel, creator of the Flying Merkel motorcycle, made a significant contribution to the final development of the final product.


That product, created by the Autoped Company of America - founded in 1913 - was the combustion engine scooter called Autoped , which debuted in 1915 and was described by some media as "a rare vehicle."

This scooter featured a 155cc four-stroke combustion engine that was positioned near the front wheel and included a front and rear headlight and horn. It would reach 32 km / h , an astonishing speed that actually exceeds the 25 km / h which is the norm on today's electric scooters.

Autoped3 Everett Shinn's 'Autoped Girl' illustration, published in Puck magazine in 1916.

That invention was advertised as a unique means of transportation for the upper classes, and in 1916 an illustration in Puck magazine showed an image that really seemed ahead of its time . Articles depicting her unique revolution are still preserved, showing, for example, actresses like Shirley Kellogg using it in Hyde Park in 1917.

Autoped8 Source: Online Bicycle Museum.

That image of the Autoped ended up working, and the Autoped had some success among the upper classes . This is demonstrated by the fact that Lady Florence Norman, a famous suffragette , used it as early as 1916 to go to her central London office. The image that heads this article - taken by Paul Thompson - precisely shows Lady Norman in an Autoped.

Amelia 2 Amelia Earhart with an Autoped. On the right, with her ward, actress June Travis.

He was not the only celebrity to use this vehicle. Although the Autoped was discontinued in 1921, it ended up being used several years later, as evidenced by the fact that the famous Amelia Earhart also appears mounted on one in 1935 .


The Autoped also ended up being used in other scenarios, as noted in the Online Bicycle Museum . The New York Postal Service used it to carry mail and was also used by traffic police. Curiously, some criminals ended up using these vehicles to escape their crimes.


Even so, the most common use of the Autoped was recreational, and its success managed to make it appear in European countries such as Portugal , where there are also images like the one that accompanies this paragraph and in which you see a woman and a man with two Autopeds.

Folding Autoped The Autoped, by the way, was foldable. Since you are ahead of your time, you do it to the beast.

Unfortunately the Autoped failed to be profitable. Experts point out that it probably did not compensate: it was more expensive than a bicycle and did not offer the comfort offered by the motorcycles that already then also began to emerge and allowed to be seated.


After the Great Depression of 1929, the Cushman company took the lead and created the Auto-Glide , a kind of scooter , but the traffic regulations of the time damaged those motorcycles and favored the rise of the automobile.

The truth is that that motorcycle was another one ahead of its time to a certain extent, but our protagonist, the Autoped, showed what the future of personal transport could be like . It is curious that for almost a century it was practically forgotten and was rescued just to show that in some cases the old is new again.

The news The prodigy that taught us the future of electric scooters was called Autoped, and it was already used in 1915, it was originally published in xiaomist.com by Javier Pastor .

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