Date: Thu, 27 Nov 1997 12:44:04 -0600

From: Thomas Creswell creswell[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CROWN.NET

Subject: Re: Trouble Hunters on WHEELS

Pat Courts wrote:

Ron, as a child growing up in Chicago in a large Irish clan, I used to ride

what the family called an "Irish wheel." 4-wheels, very low to the ground,

you sat on it (almost like a go cart) and there was a lever-like steering

mechanism that you moved up and down to nmake the thing go. This is really

testing my descriptive powers, but I've never seen anythin like it since or

before. The mechanism that mobved it was similar to the 2-person railroad

carts: one person on each side of a lever moving it up and sdown to make

the cart run the rails.

At 11:20 AM 11/27/97 -0500, you wrote:

In disussing the archaism "trouble hunters," BP accidentally cites another:

"While riding his wheel he was

bitten by a dog. ... "

I wonder how may people know that WHEEL once commonly meant 'bicycle'? My

Iowa great-grandmother (b. 1860) regularly used this slang (?) term, and I

think also her daughters and her daughters' husbands used it. Farmer&Henley

list this usage, but give no noun cites. Chapman does not list it, nor does



Pat Courts


The riding toy you mention was named by its manufacturer "Irish Mail."

I was privileged to ride on one in the 1920's. It belonged to my older

brother Sam, for whom my parents had bought it because it could be

operated by pumping with the arms on a T-shaped handle. Sam,

unfortunately, had had polio at a time during which there was no real

treatment available. Fortunately, however, he had some control over his

legs, which were used to steer the vehicle by turning the front axle in

the desired direction. The pumping handle only operated the crank

mechanism used to drive the back wheels.

Tom Creswell