The annual Cholmondeley Pageant of Power in the U.K. never fails to deliver something special and this year that exotic ingredient is a 1910 Edison-Puton Monowheel. Capable of being ogled by engineers for hundreds of hours at a time, the Monowheel was built in Paris in 1910, and bears testimony to human folly at its most ingenious.
There's something special for me about monowheels - those with gyroscopic balancers excepted. They look like they don't work, and they almost work practically, but not quite. They are however, a spectacle for the eye of any human with an interest in physics.
Despite the seeming obvious, the monowheel has been persevered with for well over 100 years as a viable solution to personal transportation needs. I dips me lid to the tenacity of the inventors, but without intelligent balancing, the monowheel is likely to remain a circus act as to me at least, it always looks like an accident about to happen.
The 1910 Edison-Puton Monowheel on show at Cholmondeley has the frame, rider and a 150cc De Dion engine enclosed by the wheel.
A look back through history shows that at least 40 major monowheel projects have been undertaken between 1867 and now, and though many have displayed sheer engineering genius in order to bring them into vague usefulness, very few have seen service as genuine transport enablers.
The Edison-Puton Monowheel normally resides at the Auto & Technik Museum at Sinsheim, Germany.