WERNER SALES passed 1,000 but De Dion was the world’s biggest manufacturer of vehicle engines, producing 3,200 by year’s end with power outputs up to 2¾hp. In time De Dion engines would propel up to 150 makes of car, trike and motorcycle. A complete De Dion trike weighed in at about 200lb; yours for £50.
FOLLOWING A TRIP TO PARIS to buy a motor cycle, a British pioneer rider wrote: “The De Dion Bouton firm only recommend motor bicycles to be ridden in fine weather, as they consider it dangerous to ride on wet surfaces or through traffic…It is all right when you are riding straight ahead, with both wheels in the same straight line, but in turning corners, or even to avoid anything on the road, it is extremely dangerous, as it stands to reason that any wheel driven by motive power has a strong tendency to skid and bring down the maihine…”It is simply courting danger to cross wet places and damp spots on the road…I can only give them the advice my French friends gave me, ‘Mefiez voius, c’est tres dangereuse’ (Take care, it is very dangerous).”
IN 1893 CHARLES H Metz set up the Waltham Manufacturing Co in Massachusetts to make Orient bicycles; by 1898 he was running a racing team and, to help train his cyclists, he ordered built a tandem pacer with the pilot sitting up front and the passenger operating a French-made Aster copy of the DeDion-Bouton engine (Aster became a leading supplier, producing a range of stationary engines as well as powering bikes, trikes, cars, boats and in due course, aircraft). The tandem was a great success, and before long Metz was experimenting with a heavy-duty version of the Orient bicycle powered by an Aster/DeDion-Bouton engine. In 1900 he launched the Orient-Aster motor cycle (though our American cousins referred to them as ‘motocycles’).
HARD ON ITS heels came the Columbia, built by Pope using the company’s own IOE single in one of its bicycle frames. And the Holley bothers, Earl and George, set up the Holley Motor Company, making IOE motorcycle engines in Bradford, PA; sales were disappointing so they began to make and sell complete motorcycles. Rather than use bicycle frames Earl and George built their frames from scratch, mounting the engine low in place of the pedals.
REX, CHATER-LEA and OK (later OK-Supreme, OK?) debuted; there were now about 50 British marques.
S DE JONG & CO OF Antwerp fitted its Minerva bicycles with 172cc/¾hp ZL clip-on engines. They were a great success so Minerva copied the ZL engines and made its own: it also sold them to other bicycle manufacturers
AMERICAN FIRMS made 1,681 steam, 1,575 electric and 936 petrol cars.
IN CLECKHEATON, WEST Yorks, Joah Carver Phelon and his nephew Harry Rayner used a (1¾hp) De Dion in their Phelon & Rayner motor cycles but they patented the use of a sloping engine to serve as the downtube of an adapted bicycle frame. They also pioneered chain drive but could not afford to go into production so the design was licensed to Humber, which would produce it as the Humber Beeston until 1907. The sloper design would be in production for more than six decades.
A US REPORT estimated there were about 10,000 automobiles on European roads owned by 7,000 enthusiasts—5,600 of them in France, which boasted 619 vehicle manufacturers and parts suppliers, 1,095 repair shops and 3,939 stockists. By way of contrast, the report concluded: “If we put the number of automobiles in this country at 700 it will probably be an exaggeration. The number of makers actually at work or organizing is probably no more than 100.”
SINGER, BEST KNOWN for sewing machines, went into the motorcycle business by snapping up Coventry-based Perks and Birch which had developed a ‘motor-wheel’. This comprised an engine built into an aluminium wheel and featuring a surface carb and low-tension mag.
ENTREPRENEUR AND diplomat Emil Jellineck was a major distributor for Daimler and Maybach. He sponsored and specified a revolutionary sports car to be named after his daughter, Mercedes. So if she’d had a different name yuppies might still be boasting about their Brunhildes or Ermintrudes. Here’s another whimsy: 40 years later Hitler was swanning about in a huge armoured Merc. You have to wonder if he knew Emil Jellineck’s dad was a rabbi—Adolph’s favourite motor was named after a Jewish princess.
Glover Bros of Coventry built a tidy two-wheels-at-the-front trike. The firm made its own engine, which it mounted over the front axle; the trike boasted a spring frame, Ackerman steering, belt drive, drip-feed lubrication, coil ingnition and a valve-lifter controlled from the handlebar.
THE AUTOMOBILE CLUB (the ‘Royal’ comes later) staged a 1,000-mile reliability trial. Motor cycles were still in the experimental stage with only a few imported examples in the country. Two brave riders on front-wheel drive Werners entered but were not among the 65 starters. However the cars were joined by a 3hp Ariel quad; a 2¼hp Ariel trike with Whippet trailer (a lady’s bicycle frame without the front fork but with the rear wheel and pedalling gear to help on the hills); another Ariel trike sans trailer; a 2¼hp MMC trike; and a 2¾hp Simms motor wheel (a tricycle with two wheels in front, one
behind, front driving, rear steering). They left Hyde Park on 23 April, ending Day 1 at Bristol. Day 2, on show in in Bristol. Day 3, Bristol to Birmingham via Cheltenham where the vehicles were displayed. Day 4, on show in Birmingham; Day 5, Birmingham to Manchester via Matlock and some serious hills (during which AJ Wilson, with a little LPA on his Ariel trike, beat a Panhard driven by the Hon CS Rolls which was then the fastest vehicle in England). Day 6, on show in Manchester. Day 7 was a Sunday which in those days really was a day of rest. Day 8, Manchester to Kendal with hill climbing on Shap Fell. Day 9, Kendal to Carlisle with hill climbing on Dunmail Raise. Day 10, Carlisle to Edinburgh. Day 11, on show in Edinburgh. Day 12, Edinburgh to Newcastle upon Tyne (in the teeth of a gale along the Berwickshire coast). Day 13, on show in Newcastle. Day 14 was a Sunday. Day 15, Newcastle to Leeds via York where the vehicles were displayed. Day 16, on show in Leeds. Day 17, Leeds to Sheffield via Harrogate and Bradford where the vehicles were displayed. Day 18, on show in Sheffield. Day 19, Sheffield to Nottingham (but some of the vehicles diverted to Welbeck for a speed trial in which the Ariel and trailer came third with the Century tandem sixth). Day 20, Nottingham to
Marble Arch via Northampton (a run of 124 miles). There was also a champagne breakfast hosted by Viscount Northcliffe at Calcot Park, Reading; a dinner at the Birmingham Conservative Club hosted by Alfred Bird, MP; and other social events at Manchester and Edinburgh.The 1,000 Mile Tour was designed to publicise motoring and in that it succeeded. Thousands of spectators lined the route; most of them seeing motorised vehicles for the first time. The towns they passed through were packed, to the extent the vehicles had trouble passing through them. The show days were essential for running repairs. The survivors in the (almost) motor cycle class were the Ariel quad, the Ariel trike and trailer, the Century tandem, the Empress trike and the Enfield quad. CS Rolls won the speed trial in his 12hp Panhard at 37.63mph which was officially the fastest vehicle in England— a De Dion-Ariel trike and trailer came fourth at 29.45mph. And on Birkhill, acording to Autocar, “the Ariel quadricycle, Ariel tricycle with trailer, Enfield quadricycle, and Mr Rolls’s Panhard achieved the same result.” So while solos were not yet up to such a demanding event, the trikes took on the best automobiles and gave a taste of triumphs yet to come.
MMC TRIKES SUBSEQUENTLY proved their worth in a more demanding environment when a detatchment went to South Africa to do their bit in the Second Boer War.
THERE WERE TWO major cycle shows, the National at the Crystal Palace and the Stanley at the Agricultural Hall, Islington. They were run simultaneously; both, according to the Autocar, featured “exhibits of autocars, motor cycles, fittings, and accessories”. At the Stanley, for example, Alfred Dunhill’s exhibit included “a new waterproof gauntlet glove lined with wool. He has brought this out in response to numerous enquiries for a glove of this description, and we, from personal use, can speak of it as most comfortable, as it gives a maximum of protection from damp and cold with a minimum of clumsiness. One of the most interesting Dunhill novelties consists in some new puncture-repairing patches. These are made simply of two layers of pure rubber in such a way as to prevent curling. Petrol is the only thing required in using them, and when applied they not only stick to the air tube, but fill up the punctures as well. They should do much to dispel tyre troubles…The Motor Clothing Co will show some motor garments in which a specialty is made of extra thicknesses of cloth and leather over the chest. Also similar garments for ladies’ wear, and some very smart lines in liveries for motor servants…Brown Bros will show the Brown motor tricycles and quadricycles, the Brown-Whitney steam carriage, motorcycle frames and fittings, motors, repair parts and an immense varied collection of motor accessories…The Enfield Cycle Co will have their tricycles
and quadricycles with several recent improvements added…In addition to motor eye-shields, new pattern horns, a new patent induction coil, and a new carburetter for De Dion tricycles, SW Gamage will exhibit ear-guards, foot-muffs, sparking plugs, acetylene, oil, and candle lamps, together with a large assortment of specialties in autocarist garments. A particular object of interest will be the chauffeur’s ‘Combination’ garment, which will do equal duty as a rug or overalls…Hoare and Sons will show the special ‘Autocoat’ and ‘Autosuit’ for those who follow automobilism. We can vouch for their being suitable in every way for the purpose for which they are built. The garments are absolutely wind and rain proof, no matter the force of the gale or the downpour, and are stylishly made withal in the best material…Humber will have quite a number of machines from motor tricycles and quadricycles upwards…C Lohmann will have the Perfecta acetylene lamps made in large sizes for motor cycles, motor cars, and carriages…The Motor Carriage Supply Co will show the new 3½hp Simms voiturette fitted with the Simms-Bosch magneto-ignition…Roots and Venables will have the only machine in either show burning ordinary paraffin…Swain Patents Syndicate will show a very interesting motor cycle tyre. It has neither wires nor thickened edges, and is held on the rim by the patented method in which the lining is woven…Benton and Stone, Bracebridge Street, Birmingham. The exhibitors are actual manufacturers of inflators, reservoir tanks, and kindred articles, and they make a good show of them. The motor cycle reservoirs are constructed with steel barrels and steel bands, and the swivel fastenings are made specially strong…Bowden’s Patents’ Syndicate. The clever Bowden mechanism has hitherto been applied principally to cycle brakes, but the time is doubtless not far distant when the general engineer will wonder how ever he got on without it. The mechanism is already being made in various strengths for motor work, and is covered first with a waterproof material and then with a German silver wire. A simple exhaust lifter is introduced for use on motor cycles. A lever pivoted at one end engages with the cotter in the valve stem, and is operated by the Bowden cord from a small lever on the handlebar. It can be readily fitted by the rider without any drilling or like operations. The British and Foreign Electrical Vehice Co are exhibiting the ‘Powerful’ car which took part in the recent trials and the run to Southsea, making a very good impression on those who saw it. It is an immense vehicle, and as at present constructed only carries two passengers, which seems rather a small result for two and a half tons of mechanism, but it is really only an experimental vehicle…Benetfink & Co has now extended its motor department to the length of motor cycles, and it has made a most excellent selection in the Ariel. We can only emphasise our opinion that the Ariel motor cycle is second to none in the world…W Canning & Co is showing a combined motor and dynamo arranged on one shaft and forming a generator for charging accumulators…It can be made entirely automatic, so that when the accumulators are charged the current is cut off. The starter is provided with a ‘no load’ release, so that there is no danger of injuring the motor when switching on the current…The Churchbank Cycle Co: Some wooden wheels are shown fitted with Gare’s tyre. This consists of an iron tube with an eccentric hole
laid in a bed of rubber. The hole is filled with rope. The tyre is said to be both silent and wear resisting…The Crypto Works: A sample of the Lawson motor bicycle is exhibited. The motor proper is mounted on one side of the front wheel, being balanced by the flywheel, which is arranged on the other side of the wheel. A strutted fork is employed, and the ring post of the strut carries a tank which holds a gallon of petrol, and also a supply of lubricating oil. The motor is of one horse-power, and has incandescent ignition. The handle-bar is carried on a strong loop spring…The Enfield Cycle Co, Redditch: Three motor cycles are exhibited; the surface carburettor has given place to one of the Longuemare type, and we have no doubt that the alteration will be found a considerable improvement. [At this time a ‘motor cycle’ might have two, three or even four wheels.] AW Gamage: Some large bells are well calculated to effect the purpose of the horns in a more pleasant way. In the electric department we notice Peto and Radford’s batteries, and the Reclus incandescent sparking plug; also a clever little instrument for sorting out the poles when one gets the wiring mixed up. There are some excellent jackets and overcoats, with skin inside, outside, or in between, with and without the fur in situ. A good show, truly. Gibbs’ Auxiliary Power (Cycle) Syndicate: This is hardly a motor exhibit in the ordinary sense of the word, but the safety bicycle shown is intended at some period of its progress to be propelled by compressed air. The front wheel axle is provided with two cranks connected to pistons in oscillating cylinders with suitable connecting rods. On going downhill the cranks are set to work and air is compressed into the main tubes of the frame, which act as a reservoir. On coming to a rise the valves are reversed, causing the compressed air to drive the cranks and front wheel. A device is fitted for regulating the power at which the compressed air shall be utilised. Under ordinary circumstances a charge of air will last about half a mile. Iliffe, Sons and Sturmey: This firm have the latest issues of The Autocar and other publications of interest to the automobilist, such as Motor Cycles, On an Autocar through the Length and Breadth of the Land, Horseless Vehicles, and Lacy Hillier’s cycle and motor novel, The Potterers’ Club…Joseph Lucas: This noted lamp firm have not yet produced a special motor lamp, though they are by no means neglecting the matter. Meanwhile, they recommend their Holophote cycle lamp for use on motor cycles, as it is well calculated to stand the vibration…The Meyra Electric Co: Meyra batteries are calculated to work for some three or four hundred hours—practically a whole season. They are made throughout of British materials, and the company make a fair allowance for discharged cells in Dart payment for new ones…Powell & Hanmer: In addition to carriage lamps of the ordinary pattern some motor cycle lamps are exhibited, one pattern having the spring handle at the side and another at the back. In the latter case the red light is fitted in the back of the lamp in accordance with the legal regulations…HW Van Raden: Mr Van Raden’s woven glass accumulators are attaining a very high reputation, and have been recognised by such large users as the Post Office…into a warp of lead wires spun glass is woven as a weft, and this forms a grid which holds the paste. The whole plate thus constructed is wrapped in an envelope of spun glass, the positive and negative plates being of identical construction, so that the current can be reversed from time to time. An exceedingly neat little dynamo is shown which may be run off a fly-wheel to keep the accumulators charged. Another battery is combined in one case with a coil, and forms practically a rotary magneto, so that with a very small expenditure of power the rider is saved from the trouble so frequently attending batteries. This device deserves very close attention, and seems one of the best solutions of the sparking difficulty.”
FRENCH WATCHMAKER JEAN Constantin teamed up with a M Cabanes to design and manufacture a 1½hp (approx 250cc) engine with a spray carburettor which revved up to 2,400rpm. They duly bolted one into a bicycle frame, mounting it horizontally because Constantin believed this would minimise engine vibrations felt by the rider. Drive was by chain rather than belt; the chain could be tensioned by loosening and turning the left crankcase plate. Claimed top speed was about 28mph. Constantin’s machine was put into production by Rouanet and Co in Saint-Chinian in the South of France; it won a gold medal at the International Exhibition in Montauban. Fewer than a dozen were built, of which a few had strenthened frames and forks. Two complete machines and an engine have survived.
MEANWHILE, ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE POND, The Bicycle World and Motocycle Review was recording the evolution of American motor cycles and keeping a close eye on doings in Europe; particularly England and France. These excerpts include one or two stories already covered but contemporaneous reports deserve to be saved and include the minutiae that bring motor cycling history to life.
“THAT THE MOTOCYCLE BRINGS 1,000 MILES in 24 hours within the range of probability the recent Paris-Toulouse road race demonstrated. Teste, the first motocyclist, on a 7hp tricycle, covered the distance, 1,440km (over 900 miles), in 29hr 5min 3sec, an average of well under two minutes per mile for the entire distance—a marvellous performance.”
“LC HAVENER, THE WORCESTER (MASS) DEALER, is an inspiring example to his fellows. Within the past six weeks he has sold three motocycles, and he has other sales that are rapidly ripening.”
“AFTER CONSIDERABLE EXPERIMENTATION AND DELAY, George M Holley, of Bradford, Pa, who recently turned his business into the Holley Motor Company, has his promised popular-priced motor bicycle ready for inspection. The machine differs materially from any of the others that have seen the light, and if it bears out the claims made for it it will play no small part in hastening the motocycle era. The position of not only the motor, but of the oil tank, the battery and the rest of the motive power, is in itself no small departure, and one that gives the machine a clean and compact appearance, while the use of the familiar chain and sprocket gearing instead of the belt and pulley is another item that will command attention. Mr Holley claims the 1¾hp motor weighs but 24lb. It is affixed to the frame by clamps, and may be detached, the inventor claims, in five minutes or less. The motor is of the four-cycle gasolene type, air cooled, and is supplied with either electric or tube ignition, as preferred.”
“ALTHOUGH IT IS DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND why it should be the case, some of those making or about to make motocycles report that a too general impression is abroad that the term ‘motocycles’ is meant to define motor bicycles. One of those interested states that he has been obliged to do considerable letter writing to explain away this notion. Why the idea should obtain none can say. Certainly the term ‘motocycles’ seems broad enough to make its meaning clear. It includes any form of cycle fitted with a motor, whether bicycle, tricycle, tandem, triplet or quad. Each is a motocycle; collectively they are motocycles. If a motor bicycle was in mind it would be termed a motor bicycle; if a motor tricycle, it would be called a motor tricycle. The matter seems so very simple as not to require mention, but we are assured that the idea that a motocycle is a motor bicycle is sufficiently general as to deserve attention and correction…In England particularly it is noticeable that they are disposed to take the contrary view and place motocycles in the automobile class; but there is no sound reason for it. Some of the bicycle papers there eschew mention of motocycles or speak of them as very distant relatives of man-driven cycles, but the leopard does not change his spots; so the cycle is still a cycle, whatever comes or goes, and, fitted with motors, cycles become and will remain motocycles as long as the manumotive type remains to require the distinction.”
“ONE OF THE MOST NOTEWORTHY FACTS connected with the manufacture of motocycles—and one that has attracted little or no attention—is the steady growth that has taken place in the size of the motor. Starting with baby motors, as they would be termed in the light of present knowledge, rated at 1¼hp— this was the size of the initial De Dion production—they have already passed the 3hp mark, and have only made a fair start. Already 6hp motors are under way, and the end is by no means in sight.”
“ITALY IS SELDOM RECKONED a factor in the cycle trade, but it has, nevertheless, given a few ideas that have attracted attention. One of these is the bicycle motor shown by the accompanying illustration. It is the design of a Marquis, too—Marquis Carcano—and is being marketed by the Agenda Internazionali Automobilistica, of Milan. The motor is one of the lightest made, weighing, with its battery, carburetter, etc, only 30lb. It is of the air cooled, electrically ignited type, and has an external flywheel, a small pulley being fixed on the opposite end of the crank shaft. The bicycle, to which it is affixed, is driven by a belt engaging this pulley and a light rim attached to the side of the rear wheel, as in the case of the Orient motor bicycle.”
“TO THE LONG LIST OF FORCES capable of generating power to propel vehicles is to be added another. All that is accomplished by steam, electricity, gasolene, compressed and liquid air, etc, is promised for the new power. It is nothing more or less than the ordinary gun powder in general use all over the world…The experimenter is Herbert E Fielding, a mechanic, of New Haven, Conn. The power he utilizes is the explosion of minute charges of gunpowder, fired in either end of a phosphor bronze cylinder. These charges are very small, not much larger than what is needed for a .32-calibre cartridge. The rapid explosion, however, serves to create an enormous force, and at the same time a very economical source of power. An experiment with a ten pound can of the best Dupont powder furnished force estimated enough to push the vehicle 300 miles…The motor is exceedingly simple, the small charge of powder being fed into the cylinder by an ingenious device. The cylinder itself is jacketed in a tank of glycerine, which prevents undue heating…the powder is fed in similar to a cartridge loading machine, and the powder being stored in a dozen steel shells, quite a distance apart and all opening downward, should there be an explosion of one or all of the shells, no possible harm could result, as the explosion is absolutely unconfined. Several New York capitalists are taking an interest in the new motor, and should the machine demonstrate practically its merits as confidently expected by the inventor, there will be no lack of friends to place it upon the market at once.”
“NOT ONLY IN THE MOTOR, but also in the form of the tricycle, there has been a great change of late. The professional has seen the advantage of diminishing the wind resistance, and so he crouches down on the machine as if he were lying along the top bar. The tricycle has thus had to be lengthened until it has got an abnormally long wheel base, and the dropped handle bar is made as narrow as possible, so that the rider can press his elbows against his sides. The petrol tank is a big cylinder, carrying five or six gallons of spirit, and, as the professional very often prefers to slip off the saddle and sit on the tank, it has to be braced up with strong tubes to prevent it giving way under his weight. Such a machine with a 6hp Soncin motor can be driven at a speed of 50mph.”
KENNETH A SKINNER, WHO OPENED the first ‘motocycle’ shop in Boston, set up the first motor cycle hire fleet with a dozen trikes. Many of his customers were Harvard students; he charged $1 an hour, with another dollar for a half-hour riding lesson.
“LONDON, SEPT 15—ON WHAT SHOULD BE RELIABLE authority I hear that several of the Coventry cycle manufacturing firms are now going in largely for the making of motocycles, and that a good many of these machines will be on view at the autumn shows. I am also informed that in some instances the general designs will be distinct departures from the usual patterns now obtainable.”
“EVERY MAN HIS OWN REPAIR SHOP: The toolbag on a motor tricycle, or rather the contents of it, is something calculated to make the average wheelman blink. The size of the bag and the diversity of articles it contains is amazing, and yet there are those who hold that it should contain more. Here, for example, is what an Englishman, the author of a vest pocket volume, ‘Motor Tricycle First Aid Kit’, would have the motocyclist carry with him: Inlet and exhaust valves; springs, cups and cotters for same; two sparking plugs; asbestos yarn and copper washers; some graphite; plug spanner and shifting wrench; box key for cylinder- top; pliers and screwdriver; two 6in half-round files; two small punches; spare nuts, bolts and washers; few wire nails, assorted; petrol funnel; insulated wire and copper wire; rubber insulating tape; some assorted split cotters; tire outfit, with crowbar; small lubricators (paraffin, petrol, machine oil); voltameter; emery cloth; leather for washers; spare interrupter; axle grease.”
“PARIS, OCT 9—ORIGINALITY IS NOT a very strong point with cycle makers here, but they seem to be developing this quality pretty extensively in the motocycle trade just now. Every manufacturer of cycles is trying to make up for the low profits in his old business by engaging in the more remunerative occupation of building motor driven machines…Up to the present all the leading firms have bolted their motors on the ‘bridge’, or tube, parallel with the axle, to which it is geared by spur wheels, and only one, the Messrs Renaux, has struck out in different lines by building their horizontal motor into the frame, and thus giving a greater rigidity to the mechanism…A useful device has just been brought out by C Terrot, of Dijon, for utilizing the compression of air in the case containing the crank for cooling the combustion chamber. This is one of those very simple things which make one wonder why it was not thought of before.”
“WHEN J HARRY SAGER, OF ROCHESTER, NY, was in New York last week, showing his Regas motor bicycle to a select few, he remarked: ‘Heretofore it seems to have been the idea to build a motor into a bicycle. In my machine I have taken a motor and built a bicycle around it—the correct idea, to my way of thinking.’ The lines of the frame, the long wheel base, the location of the motor, the driving of it, the ease with which the motor can be disconnected or entirely removed, if desired, and the bicycle be propelled by pedal power alone, all make, for general interest…one of the features that is of enormous value from a selling standpoint is its convertibility from bicycle to tandem tricycle form…By removing the front seat attachment on the sidewalk it may be carried sideways through any door and be stored or suspended in any corner, while the bicycle itself may then be carried and stored wherever one will, as with the bicycle now in general use…The regular Regas frame, as shown, is to be equipped with a 1¼hp motor, lightening the weight considerably over the first machine built. When complete it will not weigh over 75lb…the speed will be on an average of 20mph, which is deemed fast enough for ordinary purposes, for Sager, wise man that he is, believes that the high power machines will serve to prejudice the public unfavorably…It will climb most all grades without pedaling, and with a slight assistance from the pedals no hill is too steep, it is claimed…It can be ridden ‘hands off’ more easily than the ordinary wheel. An average run of 75 miles can be made without the replenishing of the gasolene supply, which may be replenished at any country store. The complete bicycle, as illustrated, with Fred Sager ‘up’, has been in use in Rochester for a year or more, and Sager—J Harry—states that it has gone through ‘rain and snow and every kind of weather’ in grand style.”
“ON A MOTOR BICYCLE—GRAPHIC STORY of the first tour on that type—the lessons learned: ‘Bump, bump, bump, bump. We bumped on our motor bicycles all the way from the Avenue of the the Great Army, in Paris, to the Golden Gate that leads to the east of France. Of course. I might have had a 30hp car; I might have gone on the train or on an ordinary bicycle, says Joseph Pennell, the Anglo-American artist, in describing his tour on a motor bicycle, the first recorded occurrence of the sort. ‘But, having tried all these methods and more, it was simply, for the moment, my ambition to drive that motor bicycle myself. I climbed a long, steep hill, and then I thought my troubles were over. The paving ended, the road became smooth and straight, and, pushing and pulling handles and levers, the little thing began to run all by itself, and to run like mad. It sped away across the level plains toward Melun. The air grew fresher and fresher, and even cold. I was chilled by the rapid motion. It was time to put on those leather clothes. I stopped. There were no leather clothes. There was no bag on the luggage carrier. There was nothing but a broken strap. I had dropped a complete suit, a tool bag and a travelling bag, and I never knew it. For when a motor bicycle is going you could almost drop a cartload of coals and never know it. But they manage these things better in France. After an hour’s hunt I found the missing traps at the Mairie of Villeneuve St George’s, to which they had been carried. I had dropped them in the streets of that town. Bump—bump again. But soon it was over, and the good road flew underneath me almost half way to Melun. And then—just about half way—the machine stopped. Well, maybe those people in London who tried to make me buy their motor tricycle were right. Maybe the machine was a fraud. Maybe I bad been swindled. But I led the little beast to a tree, and I went at it. I examined its insides, its batteries, its wires, its motor, its carburetters, and all its cycling parts. After I had blistered my fingers and oiled my clothes and cut my hands it started up again—how or why I do not know. I rarely know. But two or three shoves at the pedals, two or three turns of levers, and the way the little bicycle rushes by itself, at about 30mph, is amazing. What, after this, are high gears and long cranks, free wheels and spring frames? Antiquated delusions, all to be consigned to the scrap heap. Yet, I am afraid, most people do not realize that at the present time it is possible to purchase a motor bicycle which is a practical vehicle. Rather elated at having left two or three scorchers on the level, I crawled through the streets of Melun, for if you can tear at 25mph you can also crawl at five. This way from Melun to the east of France is up a steep, paved hill, and up that hill 1 went at 12 or 15mph. There may be men who have no interest in motors, or who never can learn to work them. But no cyclist can see a motor bicycle climb a hill unaided without the deepest anguish. Once up, I ran into a head wind. What of it? Like the gentleman in Aesop, I only buttoned up my coat. There was no grinding against the blast. There was but a feeling of supreme contentment that with a motor bicycle hills and winds are annihilated. And then—crack! It stopped. Down again. The electricity is measured all right. The wires are all right. The sparking plug is all right. Well, everything is all right, and the beastly thing won’t go at all. Here is where the beauty of a motor bicycle comes in. Had I been on a car or a tricycle, or any other sort of motor, I would, as the French say, have rested en panne. But with a motor bicycle I simply pedalled it back to Melun like an ordinary. It was rather hard work for the five miles—eight kilometres—and it was rather humiliating to encounter the grin of the driver of a De Dion voiturette I had passed earlier near Melum as if he had been standing still. But at the shop of a most intelligent repairer, who has the honour to bear my own name, I was shown by Monsieur Pennell that Mr Pennell had some oil on one of his wires, and that was all. So in a few minutes I was away, and then rode steadily, but probably 20mph, in the twilight, the motor going red and then white hot, into Villeneuve-sur-Yonne—about seventy miles, the first day’s ride! And every bit of the seventy miles done for me by that little machine, over roads for the greater part bad enough to wreck any ordinary bicycle. Away the next morning early through Sens; and 100 miles, with only a few stops to oil up, were covered before luncheon. Once I timed myself; 17km over a beautiful stretch of road near Tonnerre were done in 20 minutes. Don’t want to ride like that? Don’t you? It is only after you have driven a motor and devoted all your energy to driving it that you understand what the pleasure of violent motion is over a good road. It is only after a run of this kind, with no digging of pedals, no tearing your heart out, no covering yourself with a froth of perspiration, you realize that a new sort of bicycle is invented that will take you without work just a little faster than you dare to go. After Tonnerre and luncheon, on I went again: 250km had been covered between 8 o’clock and 4…I had done it all myself and learned to drive the machine as well.'”
“LONDON, OCT 10—IT IS A FASHIONABLE craze to possess a motor of high power, totally regardless of the fact that the owner is never allowed to show off the capabilities of his mount on account of the speed limit; but this, on the other hand, is sometimes a merciful dispensation, for half the buyers would not be able to drive these high powered machines with any degree of safety to themselves, not to mention the public.”
“THE SINGER CYCLE CO, ONE OF the oldest cycle-making companies in the world, and the last of the British houses to evacuate the American market, is the first important maker to take up the motor bicycle; they are using the Compact motor, the mechanism is all contained in the rear wheel. The first Singer bicycle of the sort was recently given a trial in Coventry, and the motor bore out the previous good reports of it. Of the machine Henry Sturmey says: ‘The bicycle is perfectly made and finished, and is unquestionably the handsomest motor bicycle that we have ever seen. All who tried the machine were struck with its extreme ease of management…during the trial at Coventry several ran about on the machine who had not previously attempted motoring in any form.”
IN LAUNCHING THE MOTOR BICYCLE here shown the Hampden Mfg Co take occasion to remark that ‘it is designed and built with a full understanding of the extraordinary strains to which such a machine is subjected.’ The motor is built into and forms part of the frame, thus insuring a permanent alignment of the driving sprockets—the Hampden people say the vibration of a high-speed motor makes a rigid attachment a necessity. The carburetter is of a new design, float feed, and is provided with a throttle for varying the engine speed. The machine is controlled entirely from the handle bars. The machine has a maximum speed of 25mph, and its makers claim it carries gasolene sufficient for a run of 75 miles; larger tanks can be substituted so as to allow a range up to 200 miles. The weight of the machine complete is 80lb.”
“THE DE DION MOTOR TRICYCLE FOR 1901 has made its appearance on ‘the other side’, and proves to embody some valuable developments and refinements. The most important is undoubtedly the employment of a clutch which permits the engine to be thrown in or out of use at will. This contributes immensely to the ease of starting the tricycle, which hitherto has required an exercise of main strength that made the machine an impossible one for ladies and weak or elderly folk generally. By throwing out the clutch, which is done by means of a lever on the handle bar, the machine may be started by pedalling, and then, after it is under way, another pressure of the lever brings the clutch and the engine into play gradually and without the short, jarring jerks common to other motocycles.”
“LONDON, NOVEMBER 14—A GOOD MANY well known motocyclists were present at the Automobile Club’s anniversary run from London to Southsea, including the Hon CS Rolls, who for this occasion deserted his Panhard car; Mr Charles Jarrott, who last week broke the English hour’s motor tricycle track record by covering 42 miles 285 yards, and many others.”
“RW SLUSSER, ONCE A WELL KNOWN figure in the cycle trade, who has spent the last two years abroad, mainly in Paris, returned to New-York on Sunday last. He confirms all that has been said of the use of motocycles in the French capital. ‘You see them everywhere,’ said Slusser. ‘It is virtually only the poor workingman who now rides the leg propelled bicycle. I think I am safe in saying there’s not a bicycle store in Paris that does not carry motocycles in stock, and motor vehicles, too, for that matter. There are quite a few motor bicycles in use, but tricycles far out- number them.'”
“IF THE BERGMANN MOTOR, WHICH IS termed a ‘fluid pressure motor’, does all that is claimed for it, and duplicates in actual tests on the road the work performed in the shop for the benefit of the Bicycling World representative, it will revolutionize the motor industry…The motor is a hub motor in fact as well as in name; it forms the hub of the wheel, and when the power is applied it revolves and causes the remainder of the wheel to revolve with it…For the driving of this motor either steam or gasolene may be used; for cycles the latter possesses advantages, while for carriages, trucks, etc, steam is preferable; kerosene is a third power that is being experimented with, decided progress having been made in this direction…With a bicycle only one would be required, with a tricycle two, with heavy vehicles four could be used. In Bergmann’s experimental machine, a tricycle, only one was used—incased in the rear wheel on the left hand side. The motor used was 10½in in diameter and 2¼in wide, weighing 20lb. With this the tricycle, carrying two men, was driven over all kinds of roads, and during its three months’ existence it never failed to answer every call made on it. For a bicycle a smaller and lighter motor will be used. It will be very compact, measuring but a trifle over 4in at the axle nuts, or but little more than the ordinary bicycle rear wheel. Within this compass will be the motor proper; the gasolene tank, carburetor, sparking device, etc, will be very much of the usual type, except that the inventor has devised ways ably simplifying the former.”
“IMPROVEMENTS IN MOTOCYCLES HAVE NOT yet begun to march apace, probably because the latter are still new and the riding public has yet to make itself heard effectively. A good place to begin these improvements is with the levers. It is true that these present a formidable appearance only to the novice, and that the experienced rider soon masters their intricacies and finds them to be a comparatively simple matter. But there do not appear to be any insuperable mechanical obstacles in the way of vastly improving them, while the benefit of such action would be very great. For example, why should there be two separate levers to regulate the mixture? At least one American concern performs this operation with one, and there is no reason why the custom should not be generally followed. Not only are there too many levers, but they are in the wrong place. In years to come the practice of so constructing machines that the rider must take first one and then the other hand from the bars to regulate the various parts will be regarded as absurd. The hands are needed for steering, and while extended use with motocycles removes or minimizes the danger of taking the hands off, this is none the less inconvenient. The subject is an interesting one, and opens up many possibilities. It is pretty sure to receive attention before long.”
“ALTHOUGH MOTOCYCLES ARE GRADUALLY attaining prominence and popularity, and though the noun rolls easily off the tongue, real knowledge of the machines is confined to exceedingly narrow limits…the accompanying illustrations show both exterior and interior views of the mechanism of a motor tricycle and will enable any one to quickly obtain a general idea that will serve to spread the fund of motocycle information: THE CARBURETTER (or gasolene tank, as it is sometimes called) serves the double purpose of carrying the supply of gasolene and creating a mixture of gas and air, and is half filled with gasolene through THE FILLING TUBE; THE FLOAT prevents splashing of the gasolene and indicates the depth of the fluid. The mixture is made by the air entering the carburetter through THE AIR INLET TUBE, which, as will be seen, is submerged in the gasolene. The air, of course, comes to the surface of the gasolene in the form of bubbles, which, bursting, form a gaseous vapor. This vapor enters THE MIXER through the aperture shown on the right-hand side of the caburetter. As it enters the mixer the vapor is too heavily charged with gas to be of service. A movement of the air lever admits more air into the mixer and creates a mixture of the proper proportions. This gas, as indicated by the arrow in the end of the carburetter, is then forced downward into THE GAS TUBE, which conveys the mixture to THE EXPLOSION CHAMBER, being admitted thereto, of course, by THE INTAKE VALVE. The explosion is caused by an electric cur- rent, generated by THE BATTERY and conveyed by the wires to the SPARKING PLUG, the current being broken and regulated by THE CONTACT BREAKER. The current, being quite weak, is intensified by passing through THE INDUCTION COIL; the latter is a coil of several thousand yards of very fine wire wound around a metal core. The spark explodes the gas in the explosion chamber, and this explosion forces down the piston, causing THE FLY WHEELS to revolve, thus supplying the power to drive the machine. THE PISTON, which is merely a metal drum, fitting snugly inside the cylinder, works up and down at a maximum speed of 2,000 revolutions per minute. Immediately after the explosion takes place, THE EXHAUST VALVE is opened automatically and the used gas passes out into THE EXHAUST TUBE and then into THE MUFFLER, which is merely a device for reducing the noise and permitting the gas to escape. A portion of this gas, en route to the muffler, is diverted to THE HOT AIR TUBE, which thus conveys necessary warmth to the gasolene in the carburetter. THE SWITCH PLUG and THE SWITCH GRIP serve the twin purposes of making and breaking the electric current. A turn of the grip or the removal of the switch plug at once breaks the current and the power ceases; just as the reverse operations have the opposite effect. The plug must be in place and the grip turned in the proper direction, or no power can be generated. The AIR LEVER regulates the quantity of air admitted to the mixer, while THE GAS LEVER regulates the supply of gas. THE SPARKING or SPEED LEVER increases or decreases the number of sparks, and, consequently, the number of explosions, and thus regulates the speed of the machine. THE COMPRESSION LEVER opens and closes the chamber in which the compression of gas and explosions take place, and is kept closed when the full power of the motor is being used to drive the machine. When starting the machine, or running without the power—as downhill—the compression lever is kept open, thereby relieving the motor of the labor of unnecessarily compressing the mixture at each stroke of the piston.”
“THE MOVEMENT TOWARD MOTOR BICYCLES: Until recent months it was supposed that the Copeland steam bicycle, which appeared in California in 1884, was the grand daddy of motor bicycles of to-day; next in line was placed the Pennington, of 1894, which, at any rate, was the first motocycle of the safety type, driven by an explosive motor, seen and sold in this country, although a bicycle “driven by expanding ether instead of water,” was devised by Willard I Twombley, of Portland, Maine, was illustrated in The Bicycling World of August 3, 1894. Within recent months, however, WW Austin, of Winthrop, Mass, produced a steam “boneshaker” which he made and used in 18G8, thus leveling the claims of the Copeland machine. A velocipede, of vague origin and description and claimed to have been built in 1876, was also recently unearthed in England. All of these early motocycles are here shown. France, closely followed by Germany, was first to make the motocycle a practical and commercial success, but for the most part the foreigners have devoted themselves to the tricycle; it is in this country that the motor bicycle is receiving the greatest attention. Almost every week brings a new design and its simplification and perfection is but a mere matter of time. Without recourse to the many ‘freaks’, the accompanying illustrations serve to show the wide range of thought and inventive design that has evolved and is centered in the bicycle that will ‘level the hill and still the headwind’, the twin terrors of the average cyclist.”
A DOZEN ‘MOTOCYCLES’ WERE AMONG the exhibits at the 10th bicycle show to be held at Madison Square Garden, New York. The Bicycling World expected to see “the good old pedal pushed bicycle reach out its crank to its newly found brother, the gasolene goer, and exclaim, ‘Shake!’And it reported: “There arrived at the Show on Wednesday a motor bicycle made by E Hefelinger, Town of Union, NJ, and it is no exaggeration to say that it created a sensation. In the centre of a diamond frame bicycle is built in—in the place of the usual seat post mast—a frame of small tubing to take the motor. Ordinarily this method of attaching it would be attended with many disadvantages, but so compact is the Hefelfinger motor that it does not interfere with the rider or the mechanism of the bicycle in any way. The drive is a chain, running on two nearly equal sized sprocket wheels, and connected with both the crank shaft of the motor and the pedals, so that either or both can drive. In the crank hanger is a clutch designed to throw the pedals out of gear when they are not driving. A two-speed gear is fitted to the rear hub. The carburetter is placed back of the saddle and the battery is contained in a long cylinder, which is affixed to the lower frame tube. The flanges for cooling the motor run vertically instead of around the cylinder, as usual…It is very plain that the disposal of the motor is the chief problem awaiting a solution at the hands of motor bicycle designers and makers.”
“PARIS FEB 1—THE MOTOR BICYCLE looks large in the automobile show which was opened here last Friday…Every maker who has been able to get hold of a new motor or devise new transmission or invent a novel method of applying the mechanism is going in for their manufacture. These efforts after originality have resulted in quite a large number of different types, and, what is more, they have convinced the public that there is something in the motor bicycle, after all…All the bicycles in the show are, with one or two exceptions, fitted with motors with a maximum of 1¼hp. and one of these exceptions is the Cyclette Iochum…The motor is the old pattern 1¾hp horsepower De Dion, which has been fixed on the bottom bracket by an attachment to the diagonal tube, and its novelty lies in the fact that it has been entirely inclosed in an aluminum case which is intended to facilitate cooling of the motor by creating a strong draught of air which will enter the case at the centre of the fly wheel, and, after circulating around the ribs, will issue from the case at the top…Another feature of the bicycle is the carburetor, which, it is said, will allow of the motor running equally well with alcohol or gasolene, so that the owner may always be sure of getting supplies wherever he may find himself. The maker claims that this machine can go up any hill without the aid of the pedals, and we have no difficulty in believing the statement…The Landru motor bicycle is one of the few machine with a specially designed frame for running. with the motor. The down tube is replaced with two tubes of smaller gauge, the ends of which are brazed on each side of the head tube, and then come round the back of the front wheel and extend horizontally to the bottom bracket to form a bed for the motor…In the Motocyclette the motor is fixed vertically on the bottom bracket…and is said to develop 1½hp…The motor is thrown out of gear by means of a lever behind the head tube, and the bicycle can be fitted with a change-speed gear if desired…the carburetor is of the sprayed type, which undoubtedly seems to result in an economy of consumption, and moreover, allows of alcohol being used; but, on the other hand, it cannot be so easily regulated as the ordinary carburetor…Another method of motor attachment is seen in the Centaure bicycle of L Flinois, who casts his motor case with a bracket, so that it can be bolted to any part of the machine…By running at 2,000 revolutions it is said to develop 1½hp, but it is obviously quite out of the question that an air-cooled motor would be able to run at this speed for any length of time without risk of overheating…A very elegant bicycle is being shown by the Compagnie Frangaise des Moteurs et Autocycles Salvator, in which we again see the tendency which is growing among makers to build the motor as part of the machine, instead of merely fixing it to any kind of frame….The motor is cast with ribs having a very large surface, and the exhaust valve is in front, so as to have full advantage of the air. A feature of this bicycle is a new method of magneto-electric ignition, which, however, was not fixed to the bicycle shown, but we shall have an opportunity of testing it later on. The Salvator magneto-electric device is said to weigh less than a pound…One of the claims for La Victoire motocyclette is that the motor can be adapted to any machine, and is cast with a bracket, so that it may be conveniently bolted to any of the tubes. In the machine exhibited it is fixed below the down tube, and power is transmitted in the usual way by a belt…The Boillod is entirely different from the others exhibited in the sense that the maker has not relied upon the standard types of motors, but has devised a 1hp two-cylinder engine which is inverted at the back of the bicycle…It is carried on a bed bolted to the backstays just above the wheel, and the motor shaft is thus about on a level with the top tube. This topsy-turvy method of fixing the motor has been adopted so as to allow of the motor shaft gearing on to a bevel rod which runs in a tube fastened to one of the back-stays, and is connected with a bevel wheel on the hub of the driving wheel…the French cycle makers have taken up the motocycle business with a great deal of spirit, and seem likely to build up a very satisfactory trade in these machines.”
“THIS EXPERIENCE WITH ONE of the early machines is related by one who had the pleasure (?) of trying it: ‘This particular monstrosity in motors,’ he says, ‘was in Melbourne when I made its acquaintance, and where its arrival and first public appearance made a great sensation. There is a photograph in existence taken of the crowd outside Melbourne Post office when the bicycle first essayed to start, and the picture shows a surging multitude, a great sea of heads. The writer and two friends used to try to make this motor go. It took three to do it, one to sit on the bicycle and one to hold it up on either side. It was most essential to keep the machine straight until it got fairly going, for if allowed to tilt its great weight carried all before it, and down went the unfortunate man on that side. Once going, all went well until the rider wished to dismount. Then there were anxious moments, and the two footmen would run to the rescue, and the mighty traction engine would be gradually slowed down, its supporters on either side holding on like grim death.'”
“AN ENGLISH PATENT HAS BEEN granted to CH Metz, of the Waltham Mfg Co, for a double-cylinder, air-cooling gas engine. This engine, writes Mr Metz, is only in an experimental stage, and upon the result of the severe tests it is now being subjected to will depend whether or not it will be used…The engine is of the four-cycle type, the pistons working in unison and compressing the charge into one combustion chamber; only one inlet and one exhaust are used for the two cylinders. The inlet valve operates automatically…Any number of cylinders may be used.”
“LONDON, FEB 27—THE SINGER CYCLE CO are building a considerable number of the pattern they exhibited at the National Show, and already several of these have been sold to private buyers, which makes it appear that there may be a small trade in motor bicycles next summer, but I cannot say that I think it likely that any great amount of business will be done with these machines for the next twelve months in any case. I speak thus plainly in the best interests of American dealers and manufacturers who may be thinking of shipping such cycles to this country. There is no gainsaying the fact that there is an immense amount of prejudice against two-wheeled motors, and even supposing that the machines really prove satisfactory, this prejudice will take time to overcome, and during that time will limit the trade to a very considerable extent. Prejudice means a great deal in this country, and it has to be faced.”
“FARRELL’S COMPRESSION TAP, IN which a tube is carried from the tap to the exhaust silencer, so that the hissing noise is done away with when the tap is open, seems to be gaining favor…The tap, it will be remembered, has a non-return valve, so that, although it allows the compression to escape, yet it insures a proper mixture when the piston commences to descend.”
“IN GOOD TIME THE ADVANTAGES of the motocycle will be too fully understood and appreciated to require much elucidation of the sort, but during its novitiate, so to speak, the dealer should lose no opportunity to make the most of his material…Several ads have come to our notice that show that the dealers in question have failed utterly to appreciate the situation. They deal in generalities that do not even glitter. They suggest nothing, they arouse no curiosity and can scarcely provoke inquiry…If there is anything under the sun that should appeal to the cyclist it is a bicycle that will push its rider uphill and against headwinds with little or no effort on his part…It is this fact that must be kept in mind in talking and in advertising motocycles. It is the key to the motocycle’s popularity, and the key should be used early and often. ‘No hills, no headwinds’—and in flytime ‘no perspiration’—these form the slogan, the war cry, the selling argument of the motor cycle.”
“IN LONDON THE COURTS HAVE been called on to define a motocycle, or at least to define the difference between a motocycle and a motor car, as they misleadingly term a carriage on ‘the other side’…No carriage, car, truck, dray or other form of vehicle has either saddle or pedals, or has ever had them; the cycle has both, and has always had them. The difference is right there, and the line of demarcation is so deep and distinct and drawn so clearly that we cannot understand why even Englishmen can disagree on the point…That is the noble game of English law—bolstering up a mass of incongruities for the simple purpose of keeping a great number of idle young and old men in pocket money…the Light Locomotives Act of 1896 rules that all vehicles upon which a motor is fixed and are propelled by that motor are light locomotives…it is said that therefore all motocycles are light locomotives, just as cars are held to be.”
“THE MOTOCYCLISTS WHO WENT DOWN south right under the shadow of the Pyrenees to take part in the Pau meeting did not find much of a change from the bitterly cold weather they had hoped to leave behind them in these more northerly climes. The fur coats were not much of a protection with the mercury concealed in the bulb and the frozen air shifting just enough to make it feel even colder than it was. Therefore the motocyclists had to take excessive precautions in wrapping themselves up, and Osmont came out equipped from head to foot with a woollen-sacklike garment, with just a slit to see through, making him look for all the world like a member of the Spanish Inquisition; and, notwithstanding this, he nearly dropped off his machine when he finished, utterly benumbed with cold.”
“HAVING APPARENTLY EXHAUSTED the inventive possibilities of the ordinary bicycle, JB Dunlop, the father of the pneumatic tire and inventor of a spring fork and self-adjusting bearings of unusual merit, has turned his attention to the motor vehicle…With that clearsightedness which has always been one of his distinguishing traits, the veteran inventor has placed his finger on the method of carburetting as the part of the gasolene motor most urgently in need of reform…he has very much modified the 1900 pattern spray carburetter. He has closed one of the air inlets, and has made it self-regulating, so that at all speeds and at all degrees of throttling the quality of the mixture is correct and requires no attention…Mr Dunlop contends that much of the difficulty in starting is caused by imperfect carburation, and the results obtained by his improved carburetter would seem to justify this opinion. Whereas he had considerable trouble in starting his De Dion before, the vehicle now starts at the first turn of the handle, which he operates from the seat.”
To conclude this review of 1900, let’s stay in the US with some of the adverts that were tempting pioneer motocyclists in the pages of The Bicycle World and Motocycle Review.