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Waldkatzenbach 1839

In those unrestful times, when not only the students demanded reunification of the dukedoms to a constitutional imperial Reich, Karl Drais has his own thoughts. In 1837 he supports the imperative mandate for deputies in public that is to tie the deputy by the majority decision of the citizens. Thereupon starts a political persecution campaign by the authorities using anonymous ads in newspapers, tumultuous doubles and culminating in an attempted murder finally that Drais can avoid by his dodging in a flash. The relevant authority and the police treat him as an enemy of the state. Drais wins several lawsuits against them, but the files have been taken away by his opponents. Once he writes to his ruler to justify himself and starts enumerating his opponents, but - snip! - his letter has been cut off in the archive. Drais looses his status as a chamberlain and is ruined socially thereafter.

Bild: Drais' residence in Waldkatzenbachbr /© Prof. Rösch
Drais' residence in Waldkatzenbach
© Prof. Rösch
Bild: Earliest railway  draisine of 1837
Earliest railway draisine of 1837
He retreats - voluntarily? - to the village Waldkatzenbach in the Odenwald mountains, 30 miles distant. Yet he continues to write in the newspapers of Mannheim and Karlsruhe, e.g. re his foot-driven railway car that he is allowed to test on the rails of Karlsruhe by permission of the state railways. This is driven again by a lantern wheel serving as treadmill and presumably engaging in tooth racks between the rails. He hints to the first such railway car having been patented in Vienna: a two-wheeler on one rail (pushed by the feet on the gravel) due to a silk manufacturer named Aloys Bernard in 1837.
Drais moves once and for all to Karlsruhe in 1845.


© Sören Fink with scientific support of Prof. Dr. H. E. Lessing