A coaster brake is a special rear hub for a bicycle, which performs two functions:
- It allows the bicycle to roll without forcing the pedals to turn. This is the "coaster" part. It is similar in function to a freewheel , but uses a different sort of mechanism to accomplish it.
- It is also a brake, operated by turning the pedals backwards.
Coaster brakes were invented in the 1890s, and have continued to be popular in some areas to this day.
Bicycle Coaster Brakes, Sheldon Brown
NEW MECHANISM IN THE HUB
Unique Plan for Governing the Speed of a Bicycle Saves Nearly Half the Exertion.
Knowing that the only improvements to be made in bicycles must be in the line of detail, the big makers are bending all their efforts in this direction. Chief among the features of the 1900 wheel will be what is known as the "free wheel," combining a coaster and brake. One of the exhibitors at the cycle and automobile show to be held at Madison Square garden, New York, during the week following January 20, will exhibit a hub in sections demonstrating a new attachment for bicycles. The hub is so constructed that by back pedaling on a wheel fitted with it a clutch is released in the hub and the rider can coast on his bicycle without removing his feet from the pedals. By back pedaling again another clutch is put into motion which acts as a brake and the bicycle can be controlled on the steepest hill. When the rider is through coasting a press sure on the pedals in the natural way releases the wheel and it can be driven the same as an ordinary wheel. The manufacturer claims a man can save the exertion of twenty miles out of every fifty by the use of this invention.