Amazing Vintage Photographs of People With Their Scooters From the 1940s

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines a motor scooter as a motorcycle similar to a kick scooter with a seat, a floorboard, and small or low wheels. The US Department of Transportation defines a scooter as a motorcycle that has a platform for the operator’s feet or has integrated footrests and has a step-through architecture.

Scooters were first invented in Germany in 1817 when Karl von Drais de Sauerbrun created a two-wheeled ride. In 1916, Arthur Hugo Cecil Gibson and Joseph F. Merkel created the first Motorized Scooter or the Autoped. The scooter promised to revolutionize short trips, work commutes, and the lives of anyone who wants to save money, time, and energy in going about. In 1919, the British built the ABC Skootamota that boasted a seat!
The next scooter boom took place in United States during the 1930s. In the U.S, scooters first enjoyed wide popularity during the Great Depression. At that time, many children built their own scooters from recycled wood. This promoted a level of freedom and mobility for those who can’t afford to buy cars. In 1939, the motorized scooter started booming in the USA. Even the heavy industry manufacturers, like Honda and Fuji, begin scooter production in Japan. Scooters had a small surge of popularity in the 1950s and were trendy off and on until pretty much being replaced by skateboards in the 1980s.
Here, take a look through 17 vintage photographs capture people with their scooters from the 1940s:

A woman doing stunts. (Wallace Kirkland)
Messengers outside a Western Union telegraph office. (American Stock)
An accident during a scooter polo match. (Keystone)
People riding their scooters. (Wallace Kirkland)
A group of friends on a scooter. (Wallace Kirkland)
A couple on a scooter. (Wallace Kirkland)
A clown in a police officer’s uniform. (Weegee)
An airport messenger delivers a package to a stewardess. (Hulton)
A man sitting on a three-wheeled ‘Motorette’ scooter. (FPG)
A couple ride a Vespa. (Ivan Dmitri)
Two men talking. (Dmitri Kessel)
A mother and her baby on a Vespa. (Dmitri Kessel)
A man and a woman on a Vespa. (Dmitri Kessel)


Little Ape delivery scooter. (Dmitri Kessel)
A man riding a Brockhouse Corgi moped at Ascot racecourse. (Barratts)
Vespa Scooter race from Rome. (Keystone)
A bus driver leans out of his cab to shake hands with Father Christmas passing by on his scooter. (Reg Speller)

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