Dating english patent numbers
The actual first inventor of the folding bike may never be known with absolute certainty, but there are a few contenders.
Interestingly, perhaps preceding the folding bicycle, was the folding tricycle since there are a few references to them dating from the 1880's from such companies as Bayliss Thomas in England and The Pope Manufacturing Company in the U. Englishman William Grout is often given credit for inventing the first folding bike in 1878 but from most accounts, his bicycle (a penny-farthing design pictured below) had a folding front wheel and a frame that disassembled. on September 16, 1887 and it was issued on February 21, 1888.
Secondly, there are competing claims from many inventors in different countries vying to be called the original inventor of the folding bike.
Most of these claims can't be documented in a convincing manner but that's not to say that they aren't necessarily true.
These large wheeled bicycles were also called "ordinary bicycles".
Which brings us to the folding bike, and this is where history gets a bit murky for a couple of reasons.
There are a few historical references to so-called folding bicycles but the descriptions of them sound more like "separable" or "break-away" bikes rather than true folders wherein the frame collapses in some manner while actually still staying attached to itself.In particular, a French military officer named Captain Gérard is given credit.