Those who are disgustedly trashing their CDs and buying Blu-rays might take comfort from the fact that technology has always left good inventions in the dust. I, personally, long for an 1818 semi-bicycle that was once called the running machine.

It was invented in 1818 by the marvelously-named Baron Karl Christian Ludvig von Drais de Sauerbrun, in response to an oat shortage that killed off a lot of horses. It was called the "running machine," and involved no chains and no pedals, just a comfortable seat and two wheels that allowed the user to sit and run at the same time. It got up to nine miles an hour, and for a while it seemed to be the wave of the future. If only it had been! Sadly, it was not to be. The oat crop picked back up, railroads started helping people go long distances, and the bicycle moved faster over short distances. The running machine was eventually only used as a novelty for rich people, and nicknamed "the dandy horse."


Which is a shame, because I want one. Today, bicycles have 16 gears and are all built as if their users will either be competing in the Tour de France or working as a bicycle messenger. Why? Bring back the dandy horse! Let us careen down sidewalks all while sitting in a comfy chair and, ideally, wearing that uniform.

What long-gone technology do you secretly yearn for?

[Via Mad Science.]