Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 144,930 pages of information and 230,620 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
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. 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 1488cc. 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.