Scooter – Hundred Years Of History| Dan Pilát, Jitka Slavíčková
Even if it doesn´t seem so, scooters have been with us for more than a century now. And how did it all begin?
Thanks to the massive boom of industry at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, factories sprung up near big cities like mushrooms. Large industrial suburbs inhabited by thousands of workers and their children grew around them. The economic situation of those times often did not allow parents buying new toys, and so the children had to manage themselves.
The children´s imagination and their urge for amusement gave rise to the first homemade prototypes of scooters. At the beginning, the trucks and wheels were made of old roller skates fixed on classical boards from old wooden boxes; the steering was made of another wooden board (often cut lengthwise). In a word, scooters were produced of anything that was available at the moment. And off we go...
The models of those times had a very long way ahead to today’s sophisticated designs and technologies (the scooters rattled on the roads almost like real vehicles), but they soon became the top toy among children. That is why also big manufacturers gradually started taking interest in scooters.
And How Did It Continue?
Everyday usage of scooters showed that their weakest point consisted in the materials used. The wood was prone to rotting due to humidity and the truck was damaged on account of rust. The solution consisted in using bicycles components and wheels, which improved considerably the riding characteristics of the scooters. We can see inflatable tires even in modern scooters, intended both for the town and for all terrains.
Due to massive expansion of bicycles (and their substantially reduced price), the scooters were neglected for some time. Bicycles were preferred for their utility (possibility to transport loads, higher travel speed at longer distances...) but also by fashion. The awareness of these fun products was maintained only by a few fans, by Jan Werich’s fairy tales and by Hurvínek, the favourite marionette little rascal.
Wim Ouboter, the Swiss inventor and former banker, is considered to be the initiator of scooter renascence; at the end of the 1990s he presented his own design of a little aluminium scooter. His “invention” was allegedly inspired by his sister (who had problems riding a bike due to her shorter leg) as well as by life in the city where the distances were often too long for walking and too short for driving a car.
Ever since, the development of scooters has evolved in many directions. Scooter wheels got bigger, the frame got more solid. Children have grown up to teenagers, teenagers to adults. Today, you can use scooter downtown and in all terrains; for fun but also as an attractive fashion accessory.
What will the future bring to this two-wheel lady? That is difficult to predict today, but we believe that its popularity will constantly grow thanks to its usefulness. And we can promise that Yedoo will be there!