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Miami Cycle Mfg Co. Photos and documents.


A 1894 or 1895 a civic-minded group of Middletown men met under the guidance of Paul J. Sorg. Standing left to right are: William L. Dechant, Ed Sebald, John Boyd (cashier, later vice-president, Merchants' National Bank), John Oglesby, George Phipps (became vice-president of the Merchants' National Bank), Wm. K. Rhonemus (attorney), Gus Weisbrodt (druggist, became Rathman Drugs and later Lewis Drugs), Dan Bonnell (note his missing arm). Seated from left to right are: William Crane, Paul J. Sorg (Middletown industrist), A. H. Walburg (secretary and treasurer, Miami Cycle & Manufacturing Co. and manager of the Sorg Opera House), and George Shafor (manager of tobacco operations for Sorg and later the American Tobacco Company). Paul J. Sorg was Middletown's leading industrialst in the 1890s. He had interests in many undertakings including tobacco, paper, bicycles, banking, railroads, etc.

[img] Paul J. Sorg brought the McSherry Manufacturing Company from Dayton and set them up in a building located on Grand Avenue at the railroad tracks. They manufactured farm machinery, one of which was this grain drill of about 1888. Featured in the company's advertising was the beauty and practicality of the design which was available with fertilizer attachment. A few bicycles were manufactured by the company, causing it to evolve into the Miami Cycle and Manufacturing Company.

[img] 1900 bicycle made by Miami Cycle and Mfg. Co.

[img] Racycle was their most popular and widely advertised bicycle brand

[img] Hoping to compete in the developing automobile market, the Miami Cycle and Manufacturing Company, a local manufacturer of bicycles, decided to build automobiles. It was named "Ramapaugh" for an old Indian chief who lived near Charles A. Ball in New York and who was the chief of the Ramapaugh Tribe. Ball bought the first of three vehicles that was under construction and is in the driver's seat in this photograph. The other people were company employees and city officials. This photograph was taken in back of the company's factory along Grand Avenue. The vehicle was steam-powered and was the only one completed.

[img] The company's workers in 1906

[img] The Miami Cycle and Manufacturing Company made several different brands of bicycles. Some of the different nameplates are seen here. On top from the left is the Racycle (1896-1924), Hudson (1896-1914), Racycle (Westfield, Mass.). Bottom row from the left is Miami (1896-1898) and Musselman (unknown dates).

[img] Flying Merkel assembly room in 1912. "The Merkel" brand first appeared in Milwaukee Wisconsin in 1902 when Joseph Merkel started a workshop producing single cylinder motorcycles. Merkel was among the most innovative of the pioneer motorcycle companies. The Merkel acquisition gave Miami the high-end product that it needed to be regarded as a premiere manufacturer. The factory racing team by then expanded to include names such as LS Taylor, FE French, CF Pinneau, and W Wikel. In 1914 The flying Merkel won the National endurance run from Chicago to St Louis. Maldwyn Jones then broke a world's record on the Vanderbilt Course. When he returned to Middletown he was given a hero's welcome.

[img] Mr. and Mrs. John Petrocy on a "Flying Merkel" motorcycle, the last one manufactured in Middletown. It was manufactured by the Miami Cycle and Manufacturing Company after World War I. The Petrocy's used it to tour the United States.

[img] The Miami Cycle and Manufacturing Company letterhead. This document lists the officers on November 12, 1918.

Photos and information by courtesy of www.middletownlibrary