A superb and rare photo of the 1911 Merkel V-twin
factory motorcycle racer MJ Graves after winning the 1911 race at Fort Erie.
The Merkel Motor Company was founded by
Joseph Merkel in Milwaukee (Wisconsin) 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. 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 performance enthusiasts.
In 1911 the Miami Cycle Manufacturing Company purchased
Merkel, and production was moved to Middletown
Ohio. 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.
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.