My grandfather Benjamin passed at the young age of 91 when I was 5. Unfortunately, I was far to young to have gotten to know him or form memories from our limited time together. Fortunately, my father is able to share some of his stories and there were many clues left behind to help me discover his fascinating life. More on that in the coming months.
I wonder what year this photo was taken? Who took the photo? Was it my grandfather's motorcycle or did it belong to a friend? If it was his, what happened to it? So many questions left unanswered and no one he knew left to tell me the story. I do know this photo was shot prior to 1930 when my father was born, and that grandpa never mentioned the Thor motorcycle to my father.
Having never heard of a Thor Motorcycle, of course, I had to look it up. I think this is the 1911 Model Thor IV Battery Motorcycle made by the Aurora Automatic Machinery Co., Chicago Illinois. (But I'm not positive.)
From what I've gathered on the internet, the abbreviated history is as follows: The Aurora Automatic Machinery Co. (sometimes referred to as Aurora Machine and Tool Company) began as a machine shop in 1886. The company provided forging, castings and parts for numerous bike manufacturers including Indian Moto Cycle Company. Around 1903, Aurora began selling every part needed to produce a motorcycle assembled from Thor components and numerous companies started making them. By 1908, they began to operate their own dealerships selling completed machines. The produced bikes and parts until 1920 when the board of directors announced a cease of motorcycle production. The company continued to produce home appliances including washing machines, irons and dishwashers. To learn more - just use Google Images and search for Thor Motorcycles there are fantastic photos of vintage Thor Motorcycles, Thor ads & articles to enjoy.
Too bad Dad & I didn't find this incredible piece of motorcycle history in storage...
Some books to learn more about Vintage Motorcycles: