It’s said you can’t reinvent the wheel but what you can do is, well, not reinvent the bicycle but you can certainly improve it. That’s what 24-year-old General Electric of Schenectady employee William Nelson set out to do when he successfully invented a new motor attachment for the humble bicycle. Whether it be a new car, plane or all manner of vehicles it is imperative that you take it out for a test drive just to make sure it works.
That’s exactly what Nelson did on the afternoon of October 3, 1903, with disastrous results. While taking his new motorized bicycle out for a spin opposite the home of his father in law William H. Sterling at Mapletown, he was thrown from the vehicle on a hill and died instantly.