A superb and rare photo of the 1914 Flying Merkel Model
470 V-twin motorcycle.
The Merkel Motor Company
was founded by Joseph Merkel in Milwaukee
in 1902. He started out by producing single cylinder motorcycles. Merkel was
among the most innovative of the pioneer motorcycle companies. By 1905 Merkel
had decided to engage in competition, and produced several racing machines.
Merkel's motorcycles were to set many performance standards during the emerging
American racing scene. These machines and their riders enabled Merkel to
develop a patented spring front fork that was to become the forerunner of the
modern telescopic front fork. This fork became the instrument of choice on
racing machines of other builders. Also Merkel developed a monoshock rear suspension, which was incredibly advanced for
its age. SEE PHOTO! Merkel's
slogan became: "All roads are smooth to The Flying Merkel". Merkel
also used ball bearings as opposed to bronze bushings in the engine. In
contrast to primitive atmospheric pressure intake valves, Merkel designed his
own camshaft operated valve operation system. Merkel also pioneered with his
design of a throttle-controlled engine oiler, that long preceded Harley's and
Indian's use of such a device.
The company was purchased in 1909 by the
Light Manufacturing Company, and was moved in its entirety to Pottstown
producing machines with the "Merkel Light" and
subsequently "The Flying Merkel" names. Joseph Merkel
began immediately experimenting with frame and suspension improvements, and new
engine designs. A young test rider by the name of Maldwyn Jones rode one of
Merkel's creations. An inventive mechanic and racer, Jones set up the bike and
defeated the reigning champion Erwin G (Cannonball) Baker in a ten mile race.
The following season, Jones turned professional and won three of four races on
a machine bearing "The Flying Merkel" logo on the tank. Jones went on
to become a national champion racer and helped Merkel achieve recognition among
In 1911 the Miami Cycle Manufacturing
Company purchased Merkel, and production was moved to Middletown
The Miami Company, organized in 1895, was building bicycles and Motorcycles
using names best known as Raycycle, and Miami.
The Merkel acquisition gave Miami
the high-end product that it needed to be regarded as a premiere manufacturer.
The factory racing team by then expanded to include such names as LS Taylor, FE
French, CF Pinneau, and W Wikel.
In 1914 The flying Merkel won the National endurance run from Chicago
to St Louis.
Maldwyn Jones then broke a world's record on the Vanderbilt Course. When he
returned to Middletown
he was given a hero's welcome.
Engineering innovation, high quality, and
racing successes were not enough to sustain this progressive endeavor. The
onset of war and, a contracting market, and increased competition caused
production of The Flying Merkel to falter. The final Merkel machines were
produced in 1917.
This non period photo reflects a
very interesting and historic piece of motorcycling and Merkel history.
Therefore it is printed in a nice large format ofca. 8" x 10"
(ca. 20 x 26 cm).
Shipping costs will only be $ 7.00 regardless of how many photos you
buy. For 5 or more photos, shipping is free!
(Note: A. Herl, Inc. does not appear on
photo, for purposes only)
expressed or implied. Sold as collectable item only. We are clearing out our
archives that we have gathered from various sources.
All items always sent well
protected in PVC clear filesand board backed
photographs that came from professional collections and/or were bought from the
original photographer or press studio! They are all of professional and
After many decades
of professionally collecting photographs and posters we are clearing out our
archives. They make the perfect gift and are perfectly suited for framing. They
will look gorgeous unframed and will be a true asset nicely framed with a
border. They are a gorgeous and great asset in every home, workshop, workplace,
restaurant, bar or club!
First come -
first served. And you can always contact us for your requests. Please ask any
questions before the sale ends.