Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,485 pages of information and 233,925 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Hildebrand and Wolfmuller

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1894 machine on display at Prague National Technical Museum, 2018
1894 machine
The rear mudguard contains the cooling water supply. The rubber straps are missing from the connecting rods
JD 2018 Prague Tech Mus47.jpg
Note the cranks (set at same angle), big end (ball bearing), brass cam and roller follower, method of attaching main bearing to frame. A rear wheel puncture would certainly spoil the rider's day!
1896. Hildebrand and Wolfmuller Motor Bicycle.
1906. Wolfmuller Motor Bicycle.

Hildebrand & Wolfmüller of Germany

In 1889, Heinrich and Wilhelm Hildebrand of Munich, made a prototype motorcycle using a small steam engine.

After their prototype steam motorcycle, the brothers joined with Alois Wolfmuller to manufacture a design patented by Wolfmuller and Hans Geisenhoff, in 1894.

1894 Heinrich Hildebrand of Munich produces a benzine driven motor cycle.[1]

It is considered to be the first production motorcycle and it was made in both Germany and France until 1896. The engine was a twin-cylinder, water-cooled, four-stroke with 1,488cc. The pistons travelled together (firing alternately) with their connecting rods pushing cranks on the rear wheel, like a locomotive engine. The rear wheel acted like a flywheel and it used rubber bands to pull the pistons back up the cylinders.

There are examples of the Hildebrand and Wolfmuller Motorad in the Deutsches Zweirad-Museum, Neckarsulm, Germany, the Prague National Technical Museum, the London Science Museum, and the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, USA.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Express and Echo - Thursday 14 June 1894