By now you’ve seen the ever popular Segway, a two-wheeled transporter, carting a tourist through town. Maybe you’ve even been surprised by a cop zipping up along side on a Segway complete with horn and siren. We think the Segway is a modern engineering marvel, but a precursor appeared on the campus of Illinois Institute of Technology way back in 1960.
It was built from roller skate wheels, a model airplane engine, and a steering stick. Made by Louie Richards, the Richardskeeter topped out at 12 mph and ran one mile on an eight-cent tank of fuel.
The Richardskeeter resembled a skateboard with a small fan engine out front. Lean left, go left. Lean right, go right. Pull back on steering stick and lift drive wheel off ground to stop.
It added a motor to what folks were already doing on campus, getting around on roller blades and street boards.
Source: Popular Science, May 1960