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
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.