Karl Drais and the Dandy Horse or, The Invention of the Bicycle

On 12 June 1817, the earliest form of bicycle, the dandy horse, was driven by inventor and baron Karl von Drais. Dandy horse is actually a derogatory term for what Drais initially called the Laufmaschine or “running machine”. It was later called a vélocipède or draisienne (in French and then English), and then a pedestrian curricle or hobby-horse. This was the first commercially successful two-wheeled, steerable, … Continue reading Karl Drais and the Dandy Horse or, The Invention of the Bicycle

King Kamehameha I: His Life, His Statues, His Holiday (and A Few Stamps)

Each year on June 11, the U.S. state of Hawaii celebrates the public holiday of King Kamehameha I Dayi. It honors Kamehameha the Great, the monarch who first established the unified Kingdom of Hawaiʻi — comprising the Hawaiian Islands of Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and Hawaiʻi. The holiday was first observed in 1872. Today, King Kamehameha I Day is treated with elaborate … Continue reading King Kamehameha I: His Life, His Statues, His Holiday (and A Few Stamps)

The Death of Dickens: An Examination of His Characters and Reputation

Charles Dickens is right at the top of my list of favorite writers (I usually place him either even with or just below Samuel L. Clemons AKA Mark Twain). I took a look at the life of Dickens with a bit of a philatelic tribute on his birth anniversary in 2019, showcasing a few stamps and covers along with a brief biography. With 2020 marking … Continue reading The Death of Dickens: An Examination of His Characters and Reputation