Karl Drais

From Academic Kids

Karl Drais (April 19, 1785 - December 10, 1851) was a German inventor and inventor of the velocipede or draisine, an early form of the bicycle.

Karl Drais was born and died in Karlsruhe.

His father was the chief judge of Baden , Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig von Drais. His mother was Margarete Ernestine von Kaltenthal. The Margrave of Baden at that time, Carl Friedrich von Baden, was one of Karl's godfathers.

From 1803 to 1805, Drais studied architecture, agriculture and physics at the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg.

He joined the civil service as forestry official and in 1810 received the title of a chief forest ranger, but was not yet assigned an adequate position. One year later he was suspended from active service, but continued to receive his salary so that he could devote more time to his inventions.

Drais' most important invention was the velocipede, an early form of a bicycle without pedals. His first reported ride from Mannheim to Rheinau (now a section of Mannheim) took place on June 12, 1817. In the same year, he undertook a second trip from Gernsbach to Baden-Baden.

On January 12, 1818 Drais was awarded a Groherzogliches Privileg, similar to our modern patent (Baden had no patent law at that time). In addition, he was appointed Professor of Mechanics by Archduke Carl. This was merely an honorary title and not related to any university or other institution. At the same time, he retired from the civil service and continued to receive his salary as a kind of inventor's pension.

From 1822 to 1825, Drais joined a German expedition to Brazil, headed by Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff.


  • Hermann Ebeling Der Freiherr von Drais: das tragische Leben des "verrckten Barons". Ein Erfinderschicksal im Biedermeier. Karlsruhe: Braun, 1985.
  • Keizo Kobayashi: Histoire du vlocipde de Drais Michaux 1817-1870: Mythes et ralits. Tokyo: Bicycle culture center 1993.
  • Hans-Erhard Lessing Automobilitt Karl Drais und die unglaublichen Anfnge. Leipzig: Maxime Verlag 2003.
  • Michael Rauck Karl Freiherr Drais von Sauerbronn: Erfinder und Unternehmer (1785 - 1851). Stuttgart: Steiner 1983.
  • Heinz Schmitt Karl Friedrich Drais von Sauerbronn: 1785-1851 ; ein badischer Erfinder; Ausstellung zu seinem 200. Geburtstag; Stadtgeschichte im Prinz-Max-Palais, Karlsruhe, 9. Mrz-26. Mai 1985; Stdt. Reiss-Museum Mannheim, 5. Juli-18. August 1985. Karlsruhe: Stadtarchiv, 1985.


cs:Karel Drais de:Karl Drais it:Karl Drais ja:カール・フォン・ドライス nl:Karl von Drais


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