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Pope Model L motorcycle

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Pope Model L motorcycle
Negative #: 61025-A


This object appears in the following sections:

Smithsonian Motorcycle Collection — Pope, Cleveland, Autoped, and Simplex

Pope Model L motorcycle
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection
This motorcycle was purchased late in 1913 by the father of Mrs. William L. Conners, John R. Beattie of New Haven, Connecticut, and was used by him for about eight years. It was then placed in storage, where it remained until it came to the Museum in 1964. Built by the Pope Manufacturing Company of Westfield, Massachusetts, it was known as the Model L and sold for $250.00. This cycle was restored in 1966 by Dale C. Price of Cambridge, Maryland. New tires were installed to replace the missing originals, and the horn and acetylene generator, also missing, were replaced with appropriate types from the museum's collection. It is possible that the acetylene gas originally may have been furnished from a Prest-O-Lite tank rather than a generator.
Physical Description

The two-cylinder engine, bearing the number 246, is secured to the frame at four points. It is rated as having between seven and eight horsepower, although a chart of its performance in tests by the Worcester Polytechnic Institute shows that at 50 miles per hour it developed 15.4 horsepower, with 13.9 horsepower delivered to the rear wheel. The 3 21/64-inch bore and 3 1/2-inch stroke give a displacement of 61 cubic inches.

The vehicle's maximum speed was between 60 and 65 miles an hour. The gray-iron cylinders have separate heads containing nickel-steel valves operated by rocker arms attached to the heads. The intake and exhaust valves are interchangeable. The camshaft and the roller-bearing connecting rods are of nickel steel; the main bearings are of phosphor-bronze; and the crankcase is of aluminum.

An oil tank having a capacity of two quarts is compartmented with a toolbox beneath the seat. A mechanically operated oiler, worm-and-gear-driven from the motor shaft, supplies oil from the tank to the top of the crankcase. A spur from the main oil line leads to the front cylinder, thus insuring equal distribution of oil to both cylinders and overcoming the movement of the main body of oil toward the rear while the machine is running forward. A window in the left side of the crankcase shows the oil level. An auxiliary hand pump at the side of the oil tank is used to supply extra oil for hard pulling or high-speed operation.

A Schebler carburetor is located on the right side of the engine. Ignition is furnished by a Bosch magneto shaft-driven from the motor shaft through a worm-and-gear drive. The gas tank has two sections, each with a capacity of a gallon and a half. Fuel lines and shut-offs are arranged so that the sections may be used independently or as one tank. The fuel line leading to the engine is equipped with a small metal screen strainer.

The muffler runs beneath the oil tank and has a pedal-operated cut-out at the rear.

The driving mechanism consists of a chain running from the engine sprocket to the larger sprocket of the clutch assembly, a chain from a smaller sprocket of the clutch assembly to a sprocket on the left of the rear wheel, and a chain from a sprocket on the right of the rear wheel to a sprocket on the pedal shaft. The latter chain operates the Corbin Duplex V-band brake when backward pressure is applied to the pedals, and it puts the machine in motion when forward pressure is applied. When sufficient forward speed has been attained the engine is started by engaging the Eclipse multiple-disk clutch, which is controlled by a hand lever on the left side.

The handlebars have a twin stem as a safety feature. The right grip controls the carburetor and the left grip serves as a compression release by controlling the opening of the exhaust valves. A small lever on the right side of the gas tank serves as the spark control. The ignition switch is mounted on the right handlebar.

The front hub is a ball-bearing type by Corbin. The wheels carry 28-by-3-inch clincher tires. Suspension is by a leaf spring at the front and twin coil springs at the rear.

The saddle is of Troxel manufacture.

Wheelbase is 56 1/4 inches.

Additional equipment consists of a bulb horn, front and rear acetylene lights having a separate acetylene generator, a Corbin-Brown speedometer geared to the rear wheel, and a luggage rack over the rear fender. The cylindrical toolbox now on the rear fender is an added attachment introduced by the Pope Manufacturing Company in 1915.

Date Made:
Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William L. Conners
One of Harley-Davidson's principal competitors in the early part of the 20th century was the Pope Manufacturing Company of Westfield, Massachusetts. Better known for its cars, the firm produced motorcycles from 1911 to 1918.

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