I visited the Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation museum today in Hammondsport, NY - about a 1/2 hour due west from Watkins Glen. Like the Wrights - Glenn Curtiss got his start as a bicycle mfr. Unlike the Wrights, Glenn had a taste for speed - and motorcycles.
This place is FANTASTIC. They have turn-of-the century bicycles, motorcycles, and dirigible engines....not to mention full-sized aeroplanes from 1908-1945. A spectacular collection that includes more than a few mfrs' 1900s motorcycles, a 30s HD hillclimber, an unrestored 36 Indian (w/sidecar), a late 40s Whizzer (mint), and a 70s CB350 (also mint).
Tucked in the middle of nowhere (and I mean - NOwhere) - at least by today's standards, the museum truly is rooted in the cradle of the motorcycle and aviation industries - Hammondsport, NY. I bet THAT town never comes to mind when you think of the first truly great motorcycles and planes - huh?
I bet I passed this place a couple dozen times over the past ten years - always promising myself I'd visit it 'someday'.
Today was the day.
FWIW - Curtiss was making V-twin Motorcycles in 1903 - and then sold V-twin engines to dirigible makers like Thomas Baldwin.....a full six years prior to 'the motor company' coming out with its first V-twin. For sake of reference. He was also the 'Fastest Man on Earth' in 1907 - clocking 136.3 MPH on his own V-8 motorcycle.
A link to the museum collection is at Glenn Curtiss Museum
This V-twin Curtiss MC is a classic! I just about melted when I saw it - Just the detail in the drive belt alone is enough to make you go weak in the knees. That - and along with the V-8 MC that set the speed record in 1907.
Glenn Curtiss is a VASTLY under-rated inventor. One of the truly greats.
Oh - and if anyone thinks that shaft drive is a modern mode of power transmission?
The Curtiss Museum has a BICYCLE with shaft drive from 1899!