‘Swash!’ The craft took the water like a miniature liner being launched, the fore parts of the floats rising gallantly above the wavelets made by the wind, the bicycle-boat forging steadily ahead under the impetus given by the tiny screw. …Motorists hurrying along the Portsmouth Road stopped their cars, and our cyclist-sailor was soon the centre of a crowd anxious to witness some further demonstrations, which he good-humouredly gave.
– Cycling Magazine, 18th June, 1914
The 1890s saw the peak of the ‘bicycle boom’ and inventors patented every variety of bicycle, including many different types of water bicycle. The two main variation were those that floated on top of the surface and those that were semi-submersible like a boat, with their propellors underwater.
1900s Semi-submersible Water Bicycle
This water bicycle appears to have been made some time between 1900 and early 1920s. The news agency photo below is dated 1923. Is it the same one, or were they manufactured in some quantity? It came from a museum and has a sign mounted on one of the floats that mentions P.T Barnum. The PT Barnum museum is in Bridgeport, CT, USA.
THE WATER BICYCLE VIDEO
BARNUM & BAILEY
P.T Barnum’s life story provides excellent reading.
AWHEEL on LAND & WATER
P.T BARNUM – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._T._Barnum