Ingo

1400 S Lake Shore Dr Chicago

Design Museum of Chicago
Written By Design Museum of Chicago

The Design Museum of Chicago strengthens design culture and builds community by facilitating the exchange of knowledge through dynamic experiences. Through exhibitions, public and private programs, digital media, and workshops the museum facilitates an open conversation about design across disciplines and borders.

Chicago brothers Philip and Prescott Huyssen saw the most modern examples of trains, zeppelins, and cars on display here at the 1933 Century of Progress fairgrounds, but it was the ride home from the fair that inspired the brothers. Seeing neighborhood boys play on homemade scooters sparked the idea for the X-ercycle, a unique, easy-to-ride bicycle/scooter hybrid.

To produce the cycle, the Huyssen brothers partnered with Borg-Warner, a company focused on automotive, agricultural, and marine products. Borg-Warner placed the project in its Ingersoll subsidiary, hence the name "Ingo."

Propelled via the the up-and-down motion of the rider and an eccentric (not centered) back hub, it was advertised as safer than a bike. In this short clip, Curly of Three Stooges rides the Ingo, no doubt for the sight gag.

The Ingo never gained the same popularity as the traditional bicycle, although there were devoted users. Ingos were popular in tourist areas, and Philip Huyssen rode one from Chicago to Miami in 12 days as a publicity stunt. However, in 1937 the Ingo facility was converted to Army shell manufacturing and with American entry into WWII, Ingo production ceased.

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Ingo

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