My Grandmother Rides a Flanders 4 Motorcycle!
The Flanders Four and Other Vintage Motorcycle Photos and History
My mom turned up this photo of her mother during my recent visit. I'd never seen it before. Wow, it's hard to imagine my grandmother in the early 1900s on a motorcycle.
Take a look at that bike! I love what my grandmother is wearing. Her name was Ruth Vining and she lived in Tyro, Kansas. To read more about her life, check out my mother's book, My Flint Hills Childhood: Growing Up in 1930s Kansas. It's hard to tell if that's smoke around the back of the motorcycle from the exhaust or just fading or damage to the old photo.
I did some research about the motorbike (the Flanders 4) that my grandmother is riding. I found some fascinating background information on it.
(Photo of Ruth Vining from Gail Lee Martin's family album)
More about the 1911 Flander's Motorcycle
My mom told me the story about this motorcycle. Her uncle, Albert Vining, owned it before World War 1. The family lived in Tyro, Kansas. He had a temper and would get really angry with the motorcycle when it wouldn't start. One day Albert blew his stack, and took a sledgehammer to the bike, destroying it.
I wish she had told me the story earlier, so it could have been included in her book. There was still time and space to put the photo in the book. It's in the back section. The photo shows the motorcycle with her mother, Ruth Vining on it.
Preview the book, My Flint Hills Childhood
My Flint Hills Childhood by Gail Lee Martin |
Make Your Own Book
Original Advertisement for the Flanders 4 Motorcycle
If you'd like to know more about the motorcycle, a reader clued me in that it's a Flanders 4.
I looked more closely at the family photo and you can see the Flanders name on the body. With a little internet research, I found an old ad from 1911 that features it.
- Flanders Motorcycle Advertisement
It's in the Milwaukee Journal of June 17, 1911. There's a great picture of the motorcycle and detailed description. It sold for $175 when new. The Flanders "4" motorcycle was 4 horsepower, belt-driven, free engine motorcycle with a Splitdorf magneto.
Books about Vintage Motorcycles - Great Stuff on Amazon
See a Vintage Flanders Motorcyle in Operation
Turn the sound up, it's a little low. I found this well worth watching if you're intrigued by these old motorcycles.
Video of a 1912 Flanders Motorcycle
More about the History of the Flanders Motorcycle
Zazzle graphic available as a poster: Vintage Motorcycle Bike Scooter Classic Poster by postershoppe
Learn about Earl Flanders
- AMA Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame | Earl Flanders
Biography of Earl Flanders
Ads in Old Newspapers for the Flanders 4 Motorcycle
I'm a retired librarian so put my skills to work finding these ads for the Flanders 4. Sure is fascinating to read the original ad copy to see how it was marketed back in those days.
- Arizona Republican. (Phoenix, Ariz.) January 07, 1912, Page THREE, Image 3
Digital archive for the Arizona republican. (Phoenix, Ariz.) 1890-1930. Chronicling America Â« Library of Congress
- The Washington times. (Washington [D.C.]) June 18, 1911, Sunday Evening EDITION, Page 13, Image 13
Digital archive of The Washington times. (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939. Chronicling America Â« Library of Congress
- The Washington times. (Washington [D.C.]) January 27, 1912, Final Edition, Page 3, Image 3
Digital archive of The Washington times. (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939. Advertisement with no picture.
Check back soon, as I plan to add a WWII vintage motorcycle picture from the family album.
We Think This Is Albert Vining with the Motorcycle
Do You Think It Is the Same One That My Grandmother Was Riding?
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© 2010 Virginia Allain