Sunday, December 06, 2009


The Jefferson motorcycle was the brainchild of Perry E. Mack, who débuted his new vertical-overhead-valve engine in 1910; one of the earliest motorcycles to have valves 'upstairs'. Sold initially as an engine only, under the Waverly name, the motor soon gained a reputation as an excellent racing device, undoubtedly due to the better breathing afforded by overhead valves.  The company reorganized in 1911 (the motorcycle industry was cutthroat at that time, and small manufacturers, even if legendary on the racetrack, came and went in a matter of years), and relocated to Jefferson, Wisconsin.  The marque was re-named the 'P.E.M' to honor Perry Mack.
In 1913 the name was changed again, to the Jefferson, after the town of manufacture, and a v-twin engine machine was introduced, also overhead-valve, which also proved a fast, well-built, and reliable machine for road or racing (pictured above, racing legend Dudley Perkins aboard his track Jefferson).
An interesting feature of the roadsters was the use of short-link suspension both front and rear; movement in each case was controlled by short bellcranks connected to leaf springs, providing perhaps 1.5" movement fore and aft to absorb bumps; another innovation from this plucky little company. Alas, innovation and race wins simply weren't enough to keep small manufacturers alive in those brutal early days of the American motorcycle industry, and in 1914 Jefferson ceased trading.
This machine is coming up for auction at the MidAmerica Aucation in Las Vegas Jan 7-9, 2010, and was previously housed in the Jefferson Motorcycle Museum.  The machine is a re-creation, built around an original Mack engine by Jeffery 'Slewfoot' Haberman, whose great uncle Albert Haberman was Managing Director of the company. Below is a bit of local press about Jeffery and the Jefferson:


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

I love your site.

Any chance of adding a link to my site from your home page and ill do likewise in my “friends section” on my site?

Kind regards

Rich Fowler


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul. I think that other Jeffersons must have been sold publically in the last 100 years, say from the dealer? ;) Maybe this the first offered via auction in some time? Lonnie has worked on a couple of them recently, and has some nice pics.


Graham Clayton said...

That is one very rare motorcycle - none of my reference books mention the Jefferson.

Hats off to Jeffery for his research. I spent many hours going through microfilms to research the history of a speedway track that is just around the corner where I live, so I can understand his enthusiasm and diligence.

One question I do have - were the first completed bikes sold under the Waverley name?