Fact File about the Invention of the Motorcycle: Invention: Motorcycle *** Date of Invention:
1867 *** Name of Inventor: Sylvester Howard Roper *** Lifespan of Inventor:
1823-1896 *** Nationality of Inventor: American *** Historical Period: Second US Industrial Revolution / Victorian (1850 - 1914) *** Category: Transportation *** Country of Origin:
United States *** Facts about the Inventor, Sylvester Howard Roper, and the invention of the Motorcycle ***
Fact 1: Who invented the Motorcycle? The Motorcycle was invented by
Sylvester Howard Roper in 1867 during the Second US Industrial Revolution era of inventions (1850 - 1914).
Fact 2: Who invented the Motorcycle? Prior to the invention of the Motorcycle in
1867, different types of automobiles had been developed using steam and electric
had been invented.
Fact 2: What came first, the car or the Motorcycle? The Motorcycle was
invented in 1867, nearly 20 years before the car. Nikolaus Otto invented
the four-stroke Internal Combustion Engine
and the Otto Cycle in 1876. The first true gasoline car was not invented until
Karl Benz (1844 - 1929) invented such a vehicle in 1886.
Fact 3: Who invented the Motorcycle? The inventor of the Motorcycle,
Sylvester Howard Roper, was born on November 24, 1823 in in Sterling,
Massachusetts and died on June 1, 1896.
Fact 5: Who invented the Motorcycle? The early years of Sylvester Howard
Roper were spent in Francestown, New Hampshire where he was raised by his family
that included two more bothers and two sisters. His father, Merrick Roper, was a
a skilled joiner and cabinetmaker and his mother's name was Susan Fairbanks.
Fact 6: Who invented the Motorcycle? Sylvester Howard Roper received a
good education at the local schools in Francestown. It was the exciting time of
the Second US Industrial Revolution and Sylvester Howard Roper was fascinated by
the new inventions, mechanics and new machinery. By the age of just 12 years old
he had constructed a small stationary engine and two years later had built a
Fact 7: Who invented the Motorcycle? Following his education his first job was as a
machinist. Sylvester Howard Roper worked in several towns. He married Almira D.
Hill on April 20, 1845 in Providence, Rhode Island and the couple had a son who
they named Charles Roper. The family finally settled in Boston, Massachusetts,
Fact 8: Who invented the Motorcycle? Sylvester Howard Roper became a
prolific innovator producing products such as tools, guns, a handstitch sewing
machine and furnaces. In 1861
the American Civil War erupted and
Sylvester Howard Roper worked in Springfield Armory, in the city of Springfield,
Massachusetts, the center for the manufacture of U.S. military firearms.
Fact 9: Who invented the Motorcycle? In 1863 Sylvester Howard Roper
invented a new type of hot air engine used to power small vehicles and went on
to be the first man in the United States to build several successful
self-propelled road vehicles.
Fact 10: Who invented the Motorcycle? In 1865, after the Civil War was
over, Sylvester Howard Roper caused a sensation driving his little Roper Steam
Engine. People used horses to carry them about for personal use - not machines.
Steam engines were used in power mills and factories, not for personal
Fact 11: Who invented the Motorcycle? In 1867 Sylvester Howard Roper took
the opportunity to invent a completely new, self-propelled road vehicle - a
steam-powered velocipede - the first motor cycle.
Fact 12: Who invented the Motorcycle? The invention of the Motorcycle
emerged following the invention of the Velocipede, a forerunner of the modern
bicycle. The Velocipede, meaning "fast foot", had a steer-able front wheel
and was propelled by the feet of the rider with alternate thrusts of each foot
on the ground.
Fact 13: Who invented the Motorcycle? Sylvester Howard Roper developed
his vehicle, similar to a Velocipede, that was propelled by steam and forged
expressly for this purpose. The Roper steam velociped, the first motorcycle, had
two 34 inch wooden spoke wheels with iron-band tires, footrests and a straight
handlebar with wooden grips.
Fact 14: Who invented the Motorcycle? The astonishing steam powered
motorcyle had a vertical, fire-tube boiler, suspended between the wheels with a
chimney. The lower half of the boiler served as the firebox which was fed with
Charcoal through a small round door.
Fact 15: Who invented the Motorcycle? The boiler was suspended from the
middle of the vehicle's frame by a spring-loaded hanger to absorb some of the
road shock) and was braced at the bottom of the steam boiler by two stay rods
that were connected to the rear of the frame. A hand-operated water pump was
mounted on the side of the boiler and oscillating steam cylinders next to the
chimney. The water supply for the boiler was contained in tank that also served
as the saddle.
Fact 16: Who invented the Motorcycle? The piston rods worked on two
cranks and a feed-water pump was operated by the left cylinder crank. The
exhaust steam, which was transmitted by tubing into the base of the chimney,
provided forced draft.
Fact 17: Who invented the Motorcycle? The throttle on this early
motorcycle, was located at the top the boiler worked by a forward twisting of
the handlebar. A friction brake on the front wheel was applied when the
handlebar was twisted toward the driver.
Fact 18: Who invented the Motorcycle? By 1869 Sylvester Howard Roper was
demonstrating his steam velocipede (motorcycle) at fairs, exhibitions and
circuses. He made various improvements to his machine and the one gallon water
reservoir and provided about 8 miles of travel on one filling.
Fact 19: Who invented the Motorcycle? Sylvester Howard Roper, together
with his son, Charles went on to build a successful business. Sylvester's flair
for inventions continued throughout his life and he held patents for many
invention including improvements to revolving Fire-Arms, shotguns and
Fact 20: Who invented the Motorcycle? Sylvester Howard Roper died of
heart failure on June 1, 1896 in a crash in Boston whilst riding his steam
velocipede, the first two-cylinder, steam-driven motorcycle.
Fact 21: Who invented the Motorcycle? The German inventor, Gottlieb
Daimler, produced the first first gas-propelled internal combustion motorcycle
in 1885. His motorcycle was known as the "Daimler Reitwagen" (riding wagon).
Fact 22: Who invented the Motorcycle? In 1894 Heinrich and Wilhelm
Hidebrand were steam-engine engineers who teamed up with Alois Wolfmuller to
produce the 'Hildebrand & Wolfmuller' which was the world's first production
Fact 23: Who invented the Motorcycle? In 1895 American inventor E.J.
Pennington demonstrated his version of motorcycle (Patent number: 574262) that
had top speed of 58mph. It is E.J. Pennington who is credited with later having
invented the word "motorcycle".
Fact 24: Who invented the Motorcycle? In 1896 the Werner Brothers
experimented with motorized bicycles in 1896 and produced the "Motocyclette" in
1897 with the engine mounted on the front steering head.
Fact 25: Who invented the Motorcycle? The popularity of the motorcycle
increased in the early 1900's and famous motorcycle companies such as
Harley-Davidson, the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company, English Royal
Enfield and Triumph were all established. The most popular motorcycle companies
of modern times are BMW, Victory, Ducati and Harley-Davidson