Monday, June 22, 2020

Glenn Curtiss

Curtiss began his career as a Western Union bicycle messenger, a bicycle racer, and bicycle-shop owner.

In 1902, Curtiss began manufacturing motorcycles with his own single-cylinder engines. His first motorcycle's carburetor was adapted from a tomato soup can containing a gauze screen to pull the gasoline up by capillary action.

 In 1903, he set a motorcycle land speed record at 64 miles per hour for one mile. When E.H. Corson of the Hendee Mfg Co (manufacturers of Indian motorcycles) visited Hammondsport in July 1904, he was amazed that the entire Curtiss motorcycle enterprise was located in the back room of the modest "shop". Corson's motorcycles had just been trounced the week before by "Hell Rider" Curtiss in an endurance race from New York to Cambridge, Maryland.

On January 24, 1907, Curtiss set an unofficial world record of 136.36 miles per hour, on a 40 horsepower 269 cu in (4,410 cc) V-8-powered motorcycle of his own design and construction in Ormond Beach, Florida. The air-cooled F-head engine was intended for use in aircraft.

 He remained "the fastest man in the world", the title the newspapers gave him, until 1911, and his motorcycle record was not broken until 1930. This motorcycle is now in the Smithsonian Institution.

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