c. 1910 Yale 3½ hp Single Cylinder Engine no. 4382

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Lot 808
c. 1910 Yale 3½ hp Single Cylinder
Engine no. 4382

Sold for US$ 23,400 inc. premium
c. 1910 Yale 3½ hp Single Cylinder
Engine no. 4382
One of the earliest of American makes, the Yale was directly descended from the California motorcycle that made history on July 3rd 1903 when George Whyman achieved the first transcontinental crossing of North America using a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine. It would be another three weeks before an automobile succeeded in making the trip.

Designed by Roy Marks, the California motorcycle was built by the California Motor Company of San Francisco. The latter had been founded in October 1901, but within a few months of Whyman’s historic first crossing had 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 under the Yale-California name. Like its predecessor, this first Yale was powered by a 1½hp single-cylinder engine equipped with ‘surface’ carburettor and battery/coil ignition. The frame was of the bicycle type with sprung leading-link front fork, and the wheels had steel rims, replacing the California’s wooden ones. Yale later claimed that it was ‘the first to use the spring front fork on a motorcycle.’ Consolidated owned the Yale and Snell bicycle brands, so to give the latter’s agencies something to sell, the new motorcycle was also marketed as the Snell-California, though this practice did not last long.

Among the first changes made to Marks’ original design was the adoption of a built-up crankshaft and one-piece connecting rod in 1904, and the pioneering use of twist-grip throttle control the following year. 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. An outside flywheel and direct drive transmission by belt were retained, but the surface carburettor had gone, replaced by a more modern spray type. 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. Yale continued to progress, adopting chain drive and two-speed planetary transmission while adding a twin-cylinder model to the range. With the coming of war in Europe, Consolidated’s other manufacturing interests, principally munitions, took precedence and motorcycle production ceased in 1915.

Although previously described as ‘1909’, this Yale has the sloping top tube characteristic of early 1910 models, although it may well have been produced towards the end of the preceding year. An older restoration, the machine features a Persons leather saddle, Hawthorne ‘Old Sol’ acetylene headlight and generator, Breeze carburettor and ‘AMC’ badge to the front headlamp mount. Mechanical re-commissioning and a set of new tyres may be all that is required to return it to the road. The motorcycle is offered with (copy) bill of sale recording the change of ownership from Donald A Stewart to Richard C Paine Jr. in February 1987.
c. 1910 Yale 3½ hp Single Cylinder Engine no. 4382
c. 1910 Yale 3½ hp Single Cylinder Engine no. 4382
c. 1910 Yale 3½ hp Single Cylinder Engine no. 4382
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