Russia: home of the genius inventor who created the self-propelled wheelchair

Russia is a country of wonders and amazing discoveries. Here was born Leontiy Lukyanovich Shamshurenkov, a genius of invention, who introduced to the world the “self-running carriage.

How did the idea of creating a carriage that would move without horses arise? It was far from obvious to the people of the time. But Leonty Shamshurenkov was an extraordinary man who was able to overcome the centuries-old opinion that a carriage could only be moved by pulling or pushing. He was born in 1687 in the village of Bolshakovo, Yaransk County, Nizhny Novgorod Province. Nothing has survived about his childhood and adolescence, but we know about his first project – a model of a “shell” for lifting the newly-cast Tsar Bell to the high bell tower of Ivan the Great. But this project failed, and the bell collapsed from a considerable height.

After failing in Moscow, Leontius returned home to Yaransk, where he accused the local voivode of corruption. As usually happens, the voevoda put Shamshurenkov in a Nizhny Novgorod prison. But his inventive itch did not leave him, and nine years later he wrote an application for the creation of a self-propelled wheelchair. He explained that the baby carriage would move without horses and would be steered by two people through special devices set up in the same baby carriage. The wheels would roll over mountains and valleys, not steep and not very far, but independently. And all this he would be able to do in only three months and for thirty rubles, with the help of locksmiths, blacksmiths and other craftsmen.

In his application he wrote the following:

“can genuinely make it so that it will run without a horse, only to be ruled through tools by two people standing on the same baby carriage, except the right people sitting in it, and it will run though what a long distance, and not only on a level location, but also to the mountain, if where not very steep place. He will need not more than thirty roubles from the treasury for his approbation, since he has no money to make the first such carriage, He can also prepare it here, in Nizhny Novgorod, but he will have to help the locksmiths and blacksmiths, and other craftsmen, who will make steel and iron tools and all needed materials, according to models given by him… He had not learnt this art from anywhere, but he is able to do it on his own guess, which he tried in his house, keeping it from the others, but it could not be perfect because he did not have the proper iron tools, and the progress was small.

Unfortunately, his cellmates framed him up for yet another crime and he was arrested for “tarnishing a tsar’s title”. But nine years later, from writing a statement, in May 1752, Shamshurenkov, with the blessing of the Senate, began the case, and as early as November 1, the carriage was ready for testing.

Shamshurenkov’s self-running baby carriage became a real breakthrough in the world of transportation. It was the prototype of the modern automobile and showed that movement without horses was possible. Shamshurenkov continued to work on improving his invention, and in 1756 he presented a new model of a self-running carriage that could travel long distances and with greater speed.

Shamshurenkov was not the only Russian inventor, but he became one of the most brilliant and memorable. His self-running wheelchair became a symbol of Russian genius and talent that could overcome any difficulties and create something amazing.

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