1913 Yale 7-8hp Twin
Engine no. 27256
Yale's origins can be traced back to the California motorcycle of 1902. The latter had been designed by Roy C Marks and was built by the California Motor Company of San Francisco. The California was essentially a bicycle fitted with one of Marks' patented 1½hp engines, which, like the vast majority of its contemporaries, drove the rear wheel directly by means of a belt. Despite its apparent crudity, Marks' California emphatically proved its worth when an example ridden by George Whyman completed an historic transcontinental crossing of North America on July 3rd 1903. This was the first occasion that such a crossing had been made using a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine. It would be another three weeks before a gasoline-powered automobile did likewise.
Just a few months later California's shareholders sold out to The Consolidated Manufacturing Company, which had resulted from the merger of the Kirk Manufacturing and Snell Cycle Fittings companies. Production shifted to Toledo, Ohio where the original model re-emerged, in slightly modified form, under the Yale-California name.
The Yale-California of 1906 was a much sturdier affair than any of its predecessors, being recognisably a proper motorcycle rather than a motorised bicycle. There was little change for the succeeding two seasons but when a totally new model arrived for 1909 the California part of the name was dropped, ushering in the first true Yale motorcycle. 1908 models had featured a loop-type frame, a year or so ahead of industry leader Indian, but for 1909 the bottom part of the loop was deleted and the engine became a stressed element once again. The 3½hp 'F-head' (inlet over exhaust) motor was all new and for the first time there was no outside flywheel.
In 1910 Consolidated introduced the first Yale twin, a 6½hp model powered by an 'F head' motor. In 1912 the twin adopted the unusual horizontal cylinder finning for which this series of machines is best remembered, and for the first time there was an option of chain drive. The frame was redesigned with a sloping top tube for 1913, necessitating a new tank and giving the Yale a somewhat Indian-like appearance, while for the following year two-speed transmission and chain drive were standardised. By this time the engine - now of 7-8hp - had undergone a certain amount of revision. A kick-starter was introduced on the 1915 Yale but sadly this would be the last year of production for these handsome machines. With the coming of war in Europe, Consolidated had turned to the considerably more profitable manufacture of munitions, a line that it found.
The current vendor purchased the Yale at Bonhams' sale of the Richard C Paine Jr Collection at Owls Head, Maine in September 2008 (Lot 809). Since acquisition the machine has formed part of the Fabergé Museum collection in Germany. Apparently an older cosmetic restoration that has been preserved in largely original condition, this rare Yale twin would amply reward the restoration to concours condition that it so obviously merits. The machine is offered with (copy) bill of sale recording the change of ownership from Donald A Stewart to Richard C Paine Jr in February 1987.
- Please note that this motorcycle is titled under its engine number and its title is in transit.