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Thread: 1909-1911 motorcycles registered in Wisconsin

  1. #11
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    Thanks for the positive update on Herb. Yourself, badger34, Tommo, and of course Herb have given so much of your time to uncovering these priceless gems of early motorcycle history. Any time I see a post by any of you, it's like a gift. Thanks for your hard work, and dedication.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  2. #12
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    Sep 2007
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    Wis
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    First HD registered in Wisconsin. June 25, 1909 Reg. #5.
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  3. #13

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    jacobsen.jpgJacobsen In Racine made 12 prototype Cycles to compete with whizzer.. Thi one is mine and I know of another in Racine that was restored. Jacobsen wanted to prove reliability of them by Having the Racine Explorer Scouts ride them around Lake Michigan. There is an article in the Racine Journal Times.

  4. #14
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    Sep 2007
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    Wis
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    Quote Originally Posted by cabanadan View Post
    jacobsen.jpgJacobsen In Racine made 12 prototype Cycles to compete with whizzer.. Thi one is mine and I know of another in Racine that was restored. Jacobsen wanted to prove reliability of them by Having the Racine Explorer Scouts ride them around Lake Michigan. There is an article in the Racine Journal Times.
    I have to add this to my list. What year? It appears to be an attachment to a normal bicycle. Maybe not as it seems to have a srpung fork. So I am assuming it was never produced? Thanks so much for sharing this info. I've always heard that America made over 200 motorcycles over the years but if you include the ones lost to history, the prototypes, experimental's and home builds it's much higher.

    I wonder why it never went into production? It looks like it would work very well.

  5. #15
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    Wis
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    OK, I found the ordinance that was passed to allow the registration of motorcycles in Milwaukee starting in the fall of 1904. I first thought it was a county ordinance but it was a City of Milwaukee ordinance. My remembry isn't so plenty good. It was passed on Sept. 6th, 1904 and signed by the mayor, Cornelius Corcoran on Sept. 8th. Sec. 8,9,10 and 11 applied to motorcycles. Now if it was implemented and or enforced is another question. Laws were being passed all over the country at this time to restrict motorcycles.

    This ordinance was passed a couple days before the first mention of Harley-Davidson in the public record which we know from Herb Wagner's research. In another newspaper article they talked about 2 Harley's racing at the State Fair Park 1 mile dirt track on Sept. 10th, 1904 and mentioned HD by name for the first time along with the racers. Neither finished the race according to my article. And 9 months later Harley-Davidson won the next race they entered, and the next, and the next, etc. In 1905 I'm sure it was with a different motor and maybe a different motorcycle all together. Unless we find a photograph from that 1904 race we will never know.

    If I was living in the Milwaukee area I would first check in person with the City of Milwaukee, then the Milwaukee County Historical Society and last the Milwaukee Public Library on Wisconsin Ave. The library is where Herb found the oldest known photograph of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a person. June 12th, 1905. 10 days after HD won it's first motorcycle race ever.

    Below is the ordinance which I found in the Milwaukee Daily News from Sept. 4, 1904.
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    Last edited by pem; 07-24-2018 at 05:29 PM.

  6. #16

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    Thanks for following up on the 1904 Milw vehicle reg info. If these early Milw reg lists still exist there could be significant historical potential there.

    On the 1904 Wisc State Fair races I'm not certain it's clear that two H-D machines competed on that day, Herb addresses this in At The Creation. Different newspaper articles prior to race day mentioned A. Davidson as an entry and later Walter Davidson, but the Milw Journal race day report lists only Edward Hildebrand as riding an H-D machine. Perhaps you have found further documentation listing two machines?

    I did some poking around this morning and found the following clipping in The Horseless Age in regard to the 1904 Milw vehicle reg's.

    1904 milw veh regs copy.jpg

  7. #17
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    Apr 2012
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    Canyon Lake, Tx
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    Very interesting stuff here......
    Rich

  8. #18
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    Wis
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    I believe there were two HD at the race in 1904. I'll post all the entry and results articles. Notice the difference between the papers.

    Milwaukee Free Press 09/04/1904
    Milwaukee Free Press 09/08/1904
    Milwaukee Free Press 09/09/1904
    Milwaukee Daily News 09/08/1904
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  9. #19
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    Results articles. Now we don't know if they printed the names of racers who finished or a partial list of names who finished and dropped out. One of the articles says 8 machines raced. All told there were 3 HD's entered at one time or another to be ridden by Walter, Arthur or Edward. So many questions.

    Milwaukee Daily News 09/10/1904
    Milwaukee Free Press 09/10/1904
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  10. #20

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    Thank you very much for sharing those clippings. I've never had access to the Milw Free Press or Milw Daily News archives so I've never seen these. It appears there was the potential for 12-15 machines yet only eight took the start in the first event the five mile race. Five of the potential entries mentioned in the 9-4-04 Free Press clipping do not appear in race day results that we can see. Interesting also that only two contestants are reported finishing the five mile event. The second race a ten mile event was cut to a two mile open on account of darkness reported in the Milw Journal. The track was run and managed by the horsemen which proved troublesome early on for auto and motorcycle racers.

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