Compact Commuters: Folding Scooters from the 1950s to Today

Open Through March 2, 2020

Folding motorized scooters have been around for over 100 years. One of the very first motor scooters, the Autoped of 1916, folded down to make it easy to carry it into an office or home.

Although motor scooters remained popular for decades, the idea of a folding motor scooter did not resurface until Victor Bouffort debuted the Valmobile “suitcase scooter” in France in 1953. It was a success, with nearly 100,000 sold throughout Europe, Japan, and the Americas.

The idea of foldable motorized transport spread to other manufacturers over the next half-century, marketed as the perfect “last mile” vehicle (anything that helps you complete the final leg of your commute). Park your car (or airplane, or boat), unfold your scooter, and ride into town or to the office with ease.

Folding motorized scooters remain a novel and space-efficient way to travel short distances, even into the 21st century.

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