Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Believing both four-wheeled and two-wheeled vehicles naturally unsuited to mountain trails, Charles F. Taylor of Golden, Colorado, decided a one-wheeled vehicle could tackle rough terrain far better than any conventional vehicle. Unlike many dreamers and theoreticians, however, Taylor had the engineering capabilities to design such a vehicle, the fabrication abilities to actually build working prototypes and the tenacity to follow his vision.

His efforts culminated in about 1956, when he apparently filed his first patent on the one-wheeled vehicle and filmed himself driving the one-wheeled vehicle (wearing a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors no less).

Click for movie

Though O’Reilly discussed possibly building a physical model of the one-wheeler with Colorado School of Mines professor Kevin Moore, who has access to some of the components of Taylor’s vehicles, Moore said nothing really came of the idea. “Taylor approached CSM, as he lived in our backyard, to see if there was interest in a prototype and, while there was, it was not enough to proceed,” Moore said. “The idea was that maybe a senior design team would take it on and the project was offered a couple of years but no students bit. Unfortunately, there was no money on the table to support the activity.”

Could it have worked? Could a one-wheeler have feasibly entered production in such a configuration? And could Taylor have ever become a well-respected engineer rather than an historical footnote?




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