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กลับไปหน้า สารบัญ The Return of the "Pedal Machine"
Story : Wutichart Chumsanit
Photos : Photography Staff

    The story of the bicycle in Thailand began over a hundred years ago. It was a little before 1878. Young King Chulalongkorn had only taken matters of the country into his own words for five years from the Regent, now Counselor of State and most powerful man in the government, Somdej Chaopraya Maha Srisuriyawongse (or Chuang Bunnag). If there was one who did not fear him, that person would be Sir Thomas George Knox, the Consul General of Britain in Siam whose mighty mother country had gobbled up neighboring Burma, Malaysia and India as her colonies.
Click to Bigger     The situation came when the Chaopraya imprisoned Knox's Thai son-in-law on charges of corruption. The Consul General gave an ultimatum: apologize to me, release my son-in-law, or I wil call in British army ships and hold you hostage there until you deliver my son-in-law. To prove his power, ships from the military base in Hong Kong arrived and closed off the Gulf of Thailand for over a month. Bangkok became desperate but King Chulalongkorn showed his wisdom as ruler of the country and decided on diplomatic means.
    A team of special ambassadors was dispatched to explain the situation to Queen Victoria. The head of that successful mission was Praya Pasakarawongse (Porn Bunnag) who took the opportunity to learn about new inventions in Britain and Europe before returning. Several vehicles yet unnamed in Thai came back with him on the ship in late 1879. They were the first bicycles of the country.
Click to Bigger     The first models to enter Thailand are now prized items for collectors and can easily command a price equivalent to a secondhand truck or a plot of farmland. It is no surprise that obsolete brands have become current again (although in a different market) and their owners approached and offered sums of several times the bicycle's original value.


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สารบัญ | จากบรรณาธิการ | ห้องสมุดโพล | ความฝันปี 2000
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