Thor Motorcycle

Thor Motorcycle

The Thor Motorcycle was produced in the United States from around 1907 – 1916 by the Aurora Automatic Machinery Co. of Aurora, Ill.. They were named after the Norse god of thunder and were the house brand of the same company that made the Oscar Hedstrom designed engine for the Indian Motorcycle. This is in evidence by the story told in the first piece I found in the Arizona Republican dated 1908 below.

The Thor is made by the Aurora Automatic Machinery company of Aurora. Ill., which also makes the Thor engines used in nearly all auto-cycles. The company makes several different designs and various priced machines.: TheĀ  roadster model 8B has a three horsepower engine and the very latest approved double grip control. The power is transmitted to the rear wheel by a direct chain drive from the sprocket.

1908-thor

First photograph of the Thor Motorcycle I found – Los Angeles Herald 1908

THOR MOTORCYCLE GREAT ON HILLS – A motorcycle enthusiast has written the following in a letter to A. Freed, local agent for the Thor motorcycles (Dude in the photo above): “The performance of the Thor team. Du Sell, Crocker, Nicholson and Squier, was admirable. The way they handled their machines on the two big hills, slippery and muddy to the extreme, on the first day after passing Hacketts town was so unusual. as to call attention to the Thor wheel base and riding position, which gives the rider excellent control in tight places. “Squier rode the last 18 miles of the day without-using pedals or brake, both being out of commission by being ditched in avoiding a collision with an other rider on one of the big hills.

1911-thor-motorcycle-advertisement

First stand alone ad found Thor 1911- Washington Times

Thor Motorcycle On Ebay


The following article from the Salt Lake Tribune, speaks of the endurance and reliability of the Thor Motorcycle. The article is from 1914 and the story is from the guy who own the Thor distribution rights in the Utah area, so, the article is more of an advertisement than news article.

Great Is Thor, Says Anderson – J. Louis Anderson, who has the Thor motorcycle agency for Utah, claims the distinction of being the only motorcycle rider who has made the trip on such a machine over the Midland trail to Denver, and back by way of the Overland trail. On this trip, which was made by way of the Utah desert, he claims to have given tho two-speed machine the hardest usage to which a motorcycle of this type has ever been subjected.

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Another Thor photograph in newspaper – San Francisco Call 1910

Rain fell continuously for six days during this trip, and the mud was from four to six inches in depth over the heavy grades of the Colorado Rockies. The desert sand from Wellington to Mack, Colo., which stalled many automobile making the trip, was negotiated success fully by the seven-horsepower two-speed Thor. The motor was used an average of seven hours each day on the low gear, with no overheating. It was on the job all the time, Mr. Anderson says. He claims the distinction also of being the only person who has ridden a motorcycle to the “U” on the mountain side north west of Fort Douglas. This was accomplished last October on a standard stock car.

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1908 model price

In addition to the Thor motorcycle. Mr, Anderson handles the Thor delivery van for the state. He has also the Stoll-Dream tandem, especially adapted for the use of women who wish to share in the delights of motorcycle riding. This is sometimes termed “the tonneau of the motorcycle.”

The Thor machines are shown in four models. These are the four and five horsepower models, the lightweight machines, suitable for town use, and the seven-horsepower twin, with or without two speeds. These machines are designed for general all around work in mountain canyons and over the roughest roads that a motorcycle can traverse.

1912 thor motorcycle

Thor price reduction 1912 – click for larger

The nine-horsepower “Big Baby” is designed for the fellow who wants the best. It is declared that the motor in this machine is the most perfect built anywhere. It is especially adapted to those hard fishing trips to the out-of-the-way places and for side-car work. This machine has theĀ  heaviest clutch put on any motorcycle, and lubricates direct. It is guaranteed, Mr. Anderson says, to pick up any load under any possible condition that any motorcycle can be called upon to perform. The two speed gear on this machine is now in its fourth season without a change in construction, by virtue or original excellence of design.

Unfortunately, the reduction sale advertisement was one of the last dedicated ads I found. After 1912, the only mention of Thor motorcycle seems to all come in the classified section. As the Indian motorcycle sales climbed, I figure the company turned away from their house brand bike and started concentrating on making the engines for the Indian brand.

 

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