Rare 1912 Henderson Four

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1912 Henderson Four
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The sidevalve inline four feeds 7 horsepower through a single-speed transmission, combined with a small clutch.
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1912 Henderson Four
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Left view of the engine in a 1912 Henderson Four.
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1912 Henderson Four
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1912 Henderson Four
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1912 Henderson Four
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The rear seat on a 1912 Henderson Four
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Dual brake pedals are both connected to the rear brake.
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1912 Henderson Four
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Passenger footpegs on the front fender.
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Owner Frank Westfall rides all of his motorcycles, and says his Four runs along nicely at about 40mph.

1912 Henderson Four
Claimed power: 7hp (claimed)
Touring speed: 40mph
Engine: 58.9ci (965cc) air-cooled sidevalve inline four, 2.5in x 3in bore and stroke
Weight (dry/est.): 300lb (136kg)
Fuel capacity: 2gal (7.6ltr) 

One hundred and two years ago, Carl Stearns Clancy and Walter Storey left Philadelphia by ship, bound for Ireland where they would embark upon a ride around the world on two brand-new, 1912 Henderson Fours. Once in Ireland, Storey crashed his bike on the first day, then suffered through rotten weather before deciding to call it quits in Paris.

Clancy soldiered on, sending telegrams marking his progress to his sponsors, Bicycling World and Motorcycle Review. Eventually he reached Japan, then shipped out for San Francisco. Braving the almost nonexistent roads across the U.S., he reached New York on Aug. 27, 1913. The 18,000-mile trip had taken 10 months.

The coming of Henderson

By 1912, motorcycles had been manufactured commercially for 18 years. Most were powered by a version of the French De Dion-Bouton single-cylinder engine, one of the first commercially viable motorcycle engines. The De Dion had total-loss lubrication, a vacuum operated intake valve (opening from the suction of the piston on its downward stroke) and an exhaust valve that ran off a cam geared to the crankshaft. To start one of these early bikes, you put the bike on the centerstand and start pedaling. Once the bike’s running, you push it forward and away you go. If you want to stop, you have to kill the engine — early bikes have no clutch — and then pedal the bike to restart.

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