The Daimler motorbike


Gottlieb Daimler, born in 1834 in Germany, was originally a gunsmith, later training as an engineer in Germany, England, Belgium and France.

Daimler worked for a number of companies.

Eventually Daimler was working on the internal-combustion engine trying to create a small, high- speed engine that could be mounted to some type of locomotion device.

In 1885 they tested their first single-cylinder internal combustion engine, attaching it to a wooden bike, creating the first motorcycle.

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The fuel was naphtha, and the machine developed about one quarter horsepower.

It was estimated that top speeds of 10 to 12 miles per hour were attained for short distances by the only cycle that was built.

What of that original motorbike? The original built by Daimler was in a museum in Vienna, Austria, where it was destroyed by fire during a World War II bombing raid.

It is a tribute to Gottlieb’s engineering skill to note how he used the crude materials available in his motor bike construction.

The steering and wheel layout, engine placement and overall concept of modern bikes are a refined version of his original machine.

You are in luck.

This reconstruction was copied from the only known photograph of a machine designed and built Diamler.

This model was built by Homer D. Schnitziu in 1980 and can be seen in the Pendleton Historical Museum. Be sure to check it out whenever the Museum opens.

Noel is president of the Pendleton Historical Museum board.

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