Sylvester H. Roper
- Year of Death: 1896
- Experiment: Public Speed Test On Steam Velocipede
- Cause of Death: Heart Attack, Crashing The Velocipede
Sylvester H. Roper is the inventor of the steam-powered bicycle. While this would have been an early version of the motorcycle, it was a bit different. Since it employed steam and not things like oil or gas like future motorcycles, it operated a lot like steam-powered trains would have operated in that time. Roper was already a noted inventor who invented the shotgun choke and a revolver repeating shotgun. Yet Roper’s real fame comes from his use of steam.
Since Roper was an engineer, he actually invented one of the early automobiles in 1863, the steam carriage. Naturally, using the same concept for bicycles made sense, right? Calling it the “Roper Steam Velocipede,” he technically did invent the very first motorcycle of any kind. He tested it out many times, but in 1896, he wanted to do a public speed trial to further test out the Velocipede. Sadly, he ended up crashing. It was said that he had a heart attack but it’s unknown if the crash caused this or if his heart attack caused the crash.