A plethora of pictures

Busy busy…over the past few days more than 100 pictures have been uploaded. You’ll find them, if you care to look, scattered through most years from 1894-1927 (there are some fine images from the 1926 TT and don’t miss the 1899 Pernoo), to Artwork/Humour (including some striking Belle Epoque posters) and to the Melange (lots of early American pics, and there are currently 184 images from the Great War). Among the latest arrivals from my French amigo Francois were snaps of Nimbuses which made me realise I’d overlooked the great Dane’s arrival in 1919; that oversight has been taken care of. So, on to 1928—but not until I’ve added some overlooked yarns from 1927. What’s more the combo’s going in for a new rear boot and the MZ kickstart still needs attention and…it’s time for a bowl of chilli!


Lots to see

Lots more pics have been uploaded, mostly in the Artwork/Humour and Melange pages. They include a score of excellent images from the Great War including some striking colourised photos of dispatch riders and a selection of early Americana including a number of marque logos. I plan to concentrate on pics for the next few days: thanks to my esteemed chum Francois the inbox is bursting at the seams with hundreds of glorious items from his archive; I’ll set up a second melange page to accommodate them, after which I’ll start putting meat on the bones of 1928.

As the legend on the postcard reveals, the exquisite model combo and pram were made for a royal dolls house. There’s posh.

A day at the pictures

I’ve had a pleasant day uploading a cornucopia of artistic delights to ‘Cartoons/Humour’. You’ll find some cigarette cards, some smashing Edwardian advertising posters, a batch of droll Rudge ads, caricatures, a matchbox, an icemobile and a lurid 1920s illustration of a motor cycle losing an encounter with a car (yes it happened 100 years ago just the way it does now). Hope you like them. PS If you’ve read up on 1927 you’ll know all about the Motor Cycle Football ACU Cup Final. Just added to the pics of the event is a glorious illustration of a sidecar polo encounter. Probably just the artist’s imagination, but still worth a gander.


Richard Küchen: A designer of note

Just uploaded to the Gallimaufry, some notes on the career of one of Germany’s most prolific, and most successful, designers of engines and complete motor cycles. At one point he was responsible for half of all German proprietary engines. In three decades of unremitting work he came up with everything from 50cc tiddlers to the mighty Zundapp two-wheel-drive combos used so effectively by the German army in World War two. Sidevalves, ohv, ohc; singles, twins, fours; two-strokes, four-strokes: Küchen did the lot.

Küchen designs included the 1933 Zündapp flat-four and the 1940 Zündapp KS750.

Harrold Willis: A life well lived

Phil Irving, Edward Turner, Granville Bradshaw and a few, a very few, others are household names to motor cycle obsessives of a certain age. I’m ashamed to say that, while I’d heard of Harold Willis I didn’t know much about him, but I do now: inventor of the positive-stop foot gearchange, modern swinging-arm suspension and, would you believe, the dual seat. Oh, and he was runner-up in two Junior TTs and won the Hutchinson Hundred. And survived being torpedoed to fight at Jutland, and—if you’d care to turn to the Gallimaufry you can read all about him.

The Velocette’s Model O features three of Harold Willis’s contributions to modern motor cycles: a swing-arm frame, dual seat and foot gearchange.

Picture post

Just added to the Cartoons page, images of some interesting marque badges including the Henderson/Excelsior-X, upon which hangs a tale. Also uploaded, possibly the worst-taste oil advert to date (no need to wait, here it is).

More than 600,000 of Napoleon’s squaddies went into Russia, fewer than 100,000 came out.You wouldn’t think the reatreat from Moscow would be an obvious subject for a French oil ad…”A motorised Grande Armee such as the emperor would undoubtedly have created if he had known about motorcycle and the new Kervoline”. Eeeeeew…

1927: That’s a wrap, for now

This timeline is in a constant state of flux but, for now at least, 1927 is about as complete as it’s going to get (apart from a large number of cool adverts which I plan to upload over the next few days). You’ll find a report on the Olympia show with some interesting new models—this was a year of change with saddle tanks bursting out all over, with a growing number of ohv and even ohc roadsters. Before moving on to 1928 I’ll get stuck into at least a small part of the hundreds of excellent images received from my chum Francois; there are also some articles to be added to the A-Z gallimaufry including a major German motor cycle designer I hadn’t heard of till Francois put me on his track. Back in the real world the combo needs some tlc for the rigours of an island winter, the MZ still needs her new kickstart and a ride on the Sporty would be nice. Writing about bikes is fun; playing with them is better, n’est ce pas?

The world-class British motor cycle industry strutted its stuff at Olympia; George Brough showed off with a V4 in a glass case.

Inserting illustrations

As a break from working my way through 1927 I’ve just uploaded a batch of pics from what I think of as the Fanfan archive, that being the nickname of my French buddy who has transformed this timeline (as always, merci mon ami). There are some fine illustrations at the end of the Cartoons page; another half-dozen pics from the Great War in the Melange, including an extraordinary Harley pigeon carrier; and some fine studies of competitors in the 1910, 1911, 1913 and 1914 TTs. When time allows I’ll be setting up another Melange page as there are hundreds of pics awaiting publication. And I really ought to spend more time in the garage.

There’s more to see in the Cartoons page.