Wednesday, December 09, 2009

WITH LOVE, AND A DAYTON

Reader Greg G. from Long Beach was recently handed a family photo album from his wife's 83-year-old Grandfather, and was delighted to discover a few shots of this ca.1913 Dayton motorcycle, with a mysterious rider. A few pointed questions to Grandpa revealed that his mother had, in her youth (the photos were taken in 1919) fancied a rakish young man who had a bit of money in his pocket, a motorcycle, and a camera!

One presumes the fellow with the starched, detachable collar and knit tie is the fellow in question, and of course, Great-Grandmother is the heavily-skirted young lady looking ever so bored on the Dayton. How such an expression might have grown on her lovely visage is a mystery, for our hero has gone to great lengths for her comfort, attaching a very large leather cushion to his parcel rack, and covered his rear spokes with Rexine to protect milady's skirts.

Greg says the photos were taken around the Hippodrome in Minneapolis, and sadly, not long afterwards our motorcyclist drowned (swimming is dangerous!), leaving our lady to find a new fellow, who of course turned out to be Greg's Great-Grandfather-in-Law.

The Dayton, built in Chicago by the Davis Sewing Machine Company, was a short-lived creation, using a proprietary Spacke DeLuxe engine (see photo avove) of 998cc from 1911-14, initially a single-speeder with pedaling gear and a clutch; from 1915 a two-speed countershaft gearbox was available, and Dayton began making its own Harley-clone engines. The Spacke motor (also used in Sears motorcycles) was a lovely thing, with engine-turned crankcases, fully enclosed valves, and a geared shaft in the timing case which drove both the cams and magneto (via shaft-and-bevel); very showy from an engineering perspective, but expensive to produce. The Dayton flickered out in 1917, much like the life of our dashing young hero, two years later.

Dale Walksler of the Wheels Through Time Museum has a short youtube video about a Dayton, featured below:

10 comments:

gsglbc said...

Wow! I've forwarded your blog post to my wife's Granddad; I'm sure you've made him very pleased. Sorry I couldn't get any names for you; lost to the mists of time I guess. Thanks much, great job!

Anonymous said...

what a neat story, thanks. in Christ, rita

Anonymous said...

Great page. I have enjoyed it and learned a lot - even though I thought I knew it all!

I am trying to get in contact with fellow Dayton enthusiasts, but they are as rare. I collect the marque and anything to do with it. Any fellow readers with the same interest?

Phil Smith

Anonymous said...

Nice story, but a little short on the facts. The Spacke Deluxe was 1156cc, not 998cc. It was the later engine made by the Dayton factory itself that was of 998cc, though I have yet to see one or hear of one that survived. Dale's 1916 3-speed 1156cc V-Twin Dayton is the most original I would suggest you will ever see anywhere in the world at Wheels Through Time. Beautiful original bike! Another very original is located in Palmerston North in New Zealand but you would have to be on friendly terms with Peter Thompson to see that one, it is a 1915 2speed Dayton - but does not have the extras such as a completely original Dayton fitted sidecar like Dales has.

I'm always looking for parts for mine, especially the 3 speed gearbox/transmission. Always interested in Dayton engines or frames too....

Michael Voice-voicecad@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Revision:-

Nice story, but a little confused on the facts. The Spacke Deluxe was 1156cc, not 998cc. It was the later engine made by the Dayton factory itself that was of 998cc, though I have yet to see one or hear of one that survived. The two-speed was available from 1913 and the 3 speed was first offered in 1915. Dale's 1916 3-speed 1156cc V-Twin Dayton is the most original I would suggest you will ever see anywhere in the world at Wheels Through Time. Beautiful original bike! Another very original is located in Palmerston North in New Zealand but you would have to be on friendly terms with Peter Thompson to see that one, it is a 1915 2speed Dayton - but does not have the extras such as a completely original Dayton fitted sidecar like Dales has.

I'm always looking for parts for mine, especially the 3 speed gearbox/transmission. Always interested in Dayton engines or frames too....

Michael Voice-voicecad@gmail.com

Craig Moore said...

I saw Dale’s bike years ago when I drove to Illinois to pick up an early Harley J racing engine he had for sale and the Dayton was all that. I don’t claim to be an expert on Dayton motorcycles but I’d like to add this. Spacke manufactured an unknown number of engine configurations and sizes and I’ve seen this first hand. The “Deluxe” marquee was cast into the cases of many applications but the Dayton motors are easily identified by the addition of the “Dayton” logo cast just above the timing hole cover. The Deluxe motors were offered in at least the 1156 and 998 versions with the smaller being the 7 hp version and the larger being the 9 hp version better known as the “Dreadnaught 9”. Both were available for motorcycle and cyclecars applications. I own a late 1912 “Dayton Deluxe” 9hp engine that powered a board track machine until it was wrecked at “The Lagoon”, an amusement park here in Kentucky at the early part of the last century. I picked this up from a friend in 1979 and it was his father who ordered the bike in Cincinnati for the specific purpose of racing it. It is unique in the way the intake is similar to the cyclecars and also has the optional external oil pump that was driven by a modified magneto gear. I still have his helmet, gloves, kidney belt and shin guards. I also have one 9hp and two 7hp “Deluxe” motors, all in running condition. If I ever get the time I’m going to do a youtube video starting some of these up. If you want to see some pics then check out the Jockey Journal and do a search for Dayton Deluxe. I also have some pics posted on Choppertown nation under Craig Moore. Check um out! Thanks, Craig.

Anonymous said...

Oops...
using a proprietary Spacke DeLuxe engine (see photo avove) of 998cc from 1911-14...

Anonymous said...

Not sure Who Greg G. is, but I have a similar picture of my grandfather and a friend of his taken around the same time. My grandfather could be the shorter of the two. They traveled west from Peoria around that time to do some touring on motorcycles. One picture shows the Dayton bike very clearly, although my grandfather's bike is not a Dayton - he was on a different motorcycle of unknown make. I'll try to get a photo up.

Dave G.

Jim B said...

I know this is an old thread and it probably won't ever get noticed, but I have to correct the mistake of location. The Dayton motorcycle was made by the Davis Sewing Machine Company in Dayton, Ohio, not in Chicago as stated. Although they had dealers in Chicago. I live in Dayton about a mile from the old factory, which is still there.

The Vintagent said...

Thanks Jim - I'll correct it. Never too late!