The Excelsior Auto-Cycle was what this “motorcycle” was called in the newspaper ads of the early 1900’s. In the early days of the motorcycle, they were kind of like a beefed up bicycle with an engine on them. The Excelsior Motor Manufacturing & Supply Company made these versions in Chicago from 1907 to 1931. First we look at a couple of paragraphs I found about the company. Both of these article were from Pennsylvania area newspapers.
BUYING OF A MOTORCYCLE – (The Star-independent 1915) Harry Feldstern, of the Excelsior Cycle Company of Harrisburg, says: “In buying a motorcycle it is well for the purchaser to know what sort of an establishment is behind the machine. Only a satisfactory product can have an established growth and the remarkable development of the Excelsior motorcycle business is one of the greatest proofs of the serviceability of our machines. Beginning with a small output in the latter part of 1907, the demand for Excelsior autocycles has grown so great that the company was last year compelled to put up an entirely new plant at Chicago, Ill.
“This building is of reinforced concrete throughout, six stories high with a frontage of 600 feet and a depth of 123 feet. This enormous building is used for the production of Excelsior auto-cycles only, and is equipped throughout with the most modem machinery for the economical production of the various parts of our motorcycle. “To provide power for both heating and ventilating plants and the great volume of machinery required, a separate power plant, 100×50 feet, and two stories in height is located within a short distance of the main building, access to which is by a tunnel, under a private railroad track running to the shipping and receiving rooms in the main building.”
Excelsior Motorcycle Shown at Local Store – (Harrisburg Telegraph 1914) – The new storeroom of the Excelsior Cycle Company at 1007-1009 North Third street, has just completed the uncrating of their stock and are showing a complete line of Excelsior motor cycles.
This store is under the management of Harry and Nat Feldstern. In the equipping of the 1914 models such accessories as magnetos, carburetors, brakes, chains, saddles, etc., have been selected after rigid tests in the Excelsior company’s experimental department. The standard of excellence in material, design and workmanship, is the highest attainable. Model 7-S is a powerful two-speed twin which is particularly applicable to side car and commercial service, regardless of the road conditions, it affords an easy start with extreme loads. What may be termed as a standard heavy service machine is offered in model 7-C, which has a roller chain drive. Model 7-B is identical except that it is provided with belt instead of chain transmission.
The twin this especially designed for speeding purposes is offered in model 7-SC. This machine is equipped with racing handle bars, rigid front and only a short mud guard over the rear wheel. It can also be had with full road equipment, says Mr. Adams. Models 4-TS, 4-C and 4-B, are practically identical in construction and designation, except that they are provided with a single instead of twin motor. Every feature of practical service to the rider for safety, comfort and convenience is offered in the 1914 model and realizing that the heart of a power-driven vehicle is the motor, the company has devoted the highest engineering skill and mechanical ability to the development and perfection of the Excelsior motors.
Here are some of the early print ads that appeared in the early days.
Omaha Bee 1911 – (see the whole advertisement below the text) The Excelsior Auto-Cycle is Now the Lowest Priced High Grade Machine – For a long time we have planned how we could maintain the Excelsior Auto-Cycle supremacy in construction and still make it the lowest priced high grade machine on the market. Further economies in factory operation and multiplied output now make it possible to offer the Excelsior 1912 models with all their improved exclusive features at prices that are little short of revolutionary. All 1912 Models Now Ready at Sensational Prices.
The Excelsior Auto – Cycle now leaves all other motorcycles far behind. Always foremost in quality, it is now the first high-grade machine,to be sold at these remarkably low prices. Just think of it a new 1912 model with all improvements and exclusive Auto-Cycle features for less than you could buy a 1911 model. And Excelsior quality remains undiminished as supreme as before. Go for a Real Joy Ride – Go for a whizzing spin out into the fresh green country that will make every bit of you tingle with vim, zest and Joy. Take your vacation every day and hit home feathers at night. Take your wife, too, or Her. As cheap to run as a bicycle as easy to operate as your fork and knife. Taboo the street car with its sweltering mob – get to work in a jiffy. Evenings and Sundays become one glad lark. Be among the first to ride a 1912 model – own a machine that will make you the envy of every one.
By 1917, the Excelsior Motorcycle all but disappeared from newspaper advertising