Matthew Cherry: The Tricycle's Trailblazing Inventor

Matthew Cherry: The Tricycle's Trailblazing Inventor

In the realm of transportation innovation, some inventors are less celebrated than others, yet their contributions have profoundly shaped the way we move. Matthew A. Cherry, born on February 5, 1834, in Washington, D.C., is one such pioneer. While his name may not be as widely recognized as some, his inventions have left an indelible mark on the world of transportation. Today, we embark on a journey through history to uncover the remarkable life and inventions of Matthew Cherry, the inventor of the tricycle.

From Velocipede to Tricycle

Matthew Cherry's journey into the world of invention began with the development of the velocipede. This early device featured a metal frame with two or three wheels and allowed riders to propel themselves forward by moving their feet along the ground, akin to a fast walking or running motion. Cherry's inventive spirit led him to improve upon existing designs, culminating in a patent granted on May 8, 1888. Little did he know that this innovation would evolve into what we now know as the bicycle and the tricycle.

The Tricycle's Triumph

In May 1888, Cherry received a patent for the tricycle, a vehicle that continues to play a significant role in modern transportation. Tricycles offer advantages in safety and carrying capacity over bicycles. With riders looking forward, tricycles provide improved visibility and posture, enhancing road safety. The stability offered by the third wheel also makes it easier to transport objects, making tricycles invaluable in various settings.

Matthew Cherry Tricycle Patent

The Streetcar Fender: A Lifesaver Invention

Seven years later, in 1895, Cherry embarked on another inventive journey to solve a critical problem with streetcars. Accidental collisions often left streetcars severely damaged, requiring costly repairs or even complete replacements. Cherry's solution was the streetcar fender, a piece of metal attached to the front of the streetcar. Acting as a shock absorber, the fender reduced the force of impact during accidents, safeguarding both passengers and the vehicles themselves. Today, a version of the streetcar fender is a standard feature on automobiles worldwide, commonly referred to as a "bumper."

A Legacy That Endures

While the details of Matthew Cherry's life after January 1, 1895, remain shrouded in mystery, his legacy lives on through his innovative contributions. Tricycles, once born from his inventive mind, continue to be a preferred mode of transportation for many due to their safety and utility. The streetcar fender, his ingenious creation, has become an integral part of modern vehicles, enhancing safety on our roads.


Matthew Cherry may have faded from public records, but his impact on transportation endures. His inventive spirit, from the velocipede to the tricycle and the streetcar fender, has left an indelible mark on the way we move. As we pedal through the streets or drive our cars, let us remember the legacy of this unsung hero who made our journeys safer and more efficient.


About Historically A Wear

Historically A Wear

At Historically A Wear, we believe in the power of fashion to tell stories, ignite conversations, and celebrate history. Our mission is to honor the rich and diverse contributions of the African diaspora to the world, one garment at a time. With a deep commitment to education, empowerment, and community engagement, we go beyond clothing – we create wearable history. Our collections pay homage to the remarkable individuals, events, and innovations that have shaped our world. Whether it's celebrating black inventors, showcasing cultural heritage, or shedding light on lesser-known historical narratives, every piece we offer carries a message of pride, resilience, and inspiration. Join us in wearing history and making it a part of your everyday journey. Together, we continue to rewrite the narrative, one thread at a time.

Elevate your style while celebrating black inventors with our "We Made It" collection! Explore our range of products, including cozy sweatshirts, trendy kids' clothes, and engaging puzzles. Embrace history, inspire the future, and shop now to proudly wear the legacy of innovation. Every purchase supports our mission to honor remarkable inventors. Don't miss out! #WeMadeItCollection #WearYourHistory #ShopNow

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.