Boneshaker Hits Christchurch Streets – 28th June 1869

On 28th June 1869, in what is believed to have been a New Zealand first, a velocipede – also famously known as a ‘Boneshaker’ – was taken out onto the streets in Christchurch. It had been constructed by coach maker, Henry Wagstaff, who owned his own business. I’m sure he caused quite a stir!

First popular in France, inventor Nicéphore Niépce always claimed his velocipede was based on a German design that was released in 1817. Mostly made of iron but sometimes of wood, the Boneshaker proved awkward on anything but a flat surface. Christchurch, the capital city of the Plains, proved to be the perfect place for New Zealand’s trial of the ‘Iron Horse’.

Known as ‘a toy’ of the upper classes, it was mostly used for sport and recreation. Later on (16th December,1869) part of the celebration events on Canterbury Anniversary day included a ‘Boneshaker’ race.

*Image courtesy of The Online Bicycle Museum –*

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