Ernest Monnington Bowden

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Ernest Monnington Bowden (1860 – 3 April 1904) was an Irishman who invented the Bowden mechanism.


He lived at 35 Bedford Place, London, W.C.[1] His first patent (English Patent 25,325 and U.S. Pat. No. 609,570) was granted in 1896.[2] The principal element of the Bowden cable is a flexible tube containing a length of fine wire rope that could slide within the tube, directly transmitting pulling, pushing or turning movements on the wire rope from one end to the other without the need of pulleys or flexible joints. The cable was particularly intended for use in conjunction with bicycle brakes. The Bowden Brake was launched amidst a flurry of enthusiasm in the cycle press. Sir Frank Bowden, the founder and owner of the Raleigh Bicycle Company was reputed to have started replacing the rigid rods used for bicycle brakes with a flexible wound cable around 1902. This may be the reason the invention of the Bowden cable has been popularly attributed to him. In any case, the origin and invention of the Bowden cable is open to some dispute, confusion and popular myth.