I've long wanted to visit a vintage motorcycle/airplane museum in upstate New York but it's in a remote region I was never near. I ventured there this weekend specifically to see the museum and wrapped the rest of my trip around it.
The museum is named after Glenn Curtiss (1878-1930) to celebrate the legacy of the man. Glenn, a mechanical genius, was an aviation pioneer and motorcycle-manufacturer. The museum includes a large collection of early aircraft and motorcycles. As I pulled up I was instantly impressed at its huge size, big enough to contain full-scale planes, cars and motorcycles. It contains innumerable objects with lots of helpful information about them.
The son of Canadian immigrants, Curtiss was a creative inventor who had to leave school in the eighth grade when his father died. Curtiss was naturally curious: his family complained he was so obsessed with taking clocks apart and putting them back together there were gears and screws everywhere in their house.
After designing motorcycles from scratch, Curtiss moved on to airplanes and later even designed camping trailers and gramophones (record players). He founded and grew several companies, as investors flocked to his success, including Curtiss-Wright, a merger with the Wright brothers. Curtiss's main headquarters was in Hammondsport but he also had a large operation on Long Island (Garden City) and a small one in Toronto. Curtiss appeared on the cover of Time magazine and the U.S. Postal Service put him on a stamp -- air mail, of course!
The centerpiece of the motorcycle collection is a famous 8-cylinder motorcycle which earned Curtiss the title of "Fastest Man on Earth." He built and rode it in 1907, setting a new land-speed record of 136.4 mph. That record stood for ten years until broken by an automobile.
I've ridden 136 mph but on a state-of-the-art motorcycle with current technology. Doing it a century ago on a primitive bike with virtually no brakes? That took guts. Because Glenn's motorcycle didn't have brakes, after riding it a mile to set the record, he had to ride it another mile just to slow down enough to stop.
Here are some pics from the museum.
Amazing stuff from an Amazing manReplyDelete
Really! I knew practically nothing about him before going and now I'm joining his fan club. :)Delete
Oooh this is really cool, super fun place to check out!ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing! This is a place I'd never know about without you. You find all sorts of cool places.ReplyDelete
That's my job, ma'am. I'm out there so you don't have to be. :)Delete
What an amazing museum, Ally, and well worth a trip of its own! xxxReplyDelete
That looks like a cool museum! I was thinking of you last night - we watched "Ford V. Ferrari" - have you seen it? You would LOVE the racing in it - it feels so real!ReplyDelete
I eagerly anticipated that movie before it was released and, on opening weekend, invited two of my car-friends to join me in seeing it. Loved it! And there were *no* CGI special effects: everything was done with real cars.Delete
This is so cool and I never knew it existed! Thank you for the virtual tour and information!ReplyDelete
There is a museum for EVERYTHING!Delete
That wicker sidecar must surely be one of the most creative (and elegant) forms of adding extra seating to a vehicle ever devised. It looks comfy, though I do question the practicality (unless there some form of seat belt/strap to help hold the passenger in place).ReplyDelete
Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life
That's what I love about the early age of travel vehicles: conventions weren't set yet so innovative people created all sorts of solutions, including oddball ones. There were hundreds of car and motorcycle makes a century ago, all trying out new ideas.Delete