Charles Duryea’s Skycycle – 1893
Charles Edward Duryea (1861-1938) was an inventor in Springfield, Massachusetts, who was best known for building the first ever gasoline powered automobile -the Duryea – in 1898. However, one of his lesser known inventions was his “Skycycle” – a human powered flying machine produced in 1893.
The Skycycle consisted of a framework with canvas wings that measured about thirty feet from tip to tip. A propeller mounted in the front was driven by a set of bicycle-type pedals operated by the pilot. Steering was accomplished via a rudder mounted aft of the pilot, which could be turned by a set of handlebars.
It was reported that the machine was “extremely simple” and “not costly to build”. However, it is unknown if any of Duryea’s Skycycles were actually completed.
Phillipsburg Herald, (Philipsburg, Kansas), “The Skycycle”, “A Massachusetts Yankee Thinks He Can Soar Aloft”, April 13, 1893