Eye On Design: Benjamin J. Bowden’s Spacelander Bicycle

Spacelander Bicycle 2
All Photos By Gail

Designed by Benjamin Bowden (1907 – 1998) the aluminum prototype for this futuristic Spacelander bicycle was handmade by the MG Auto Company in England in 1946.  The original design incorporated an ingenious dynamo that stored the downhill energy  and released it on uphill runs.

Spacelander Bicycle

Manufacturing the bike to-spec for consumer use turned out be prohibitively expensive, but in 1960, Bowden contracted with Bomard Industries in Michigan to produce this more mechanically conventional, one-speed version of the dynamic, organic design fiberglass, a new design material.

Spacelander Bicycle Rear View

Ultimately the endeavor was too costly for Bomard Industies, as well, and the firm went out of business after manufacturing only 522 examples.

Photographed in the Brooklyn Museum’s Visible Storage Archive.

Spacelander Bicycle 3

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