The name “Winchester” conjures up images of rifles and the American West, but the Winchester on display at the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center has two wheels and looks a lot like its cousin Harley Davidson.
And, even though it looks brand new, it’s really 102-years-old. Yes, it bears the Winchester name, as do hundreds of thousands of famous firearms, but this Winchester is a motorcycle, now on display in the Cody Firearms Museum where it’s attracting a great deal of visitor attention—and even astonishment.
“This Winchester motorcycle was built by the Edwin F. Merry Company in San Francisco, California, for the Winchester Repeating Arms Company,” explains Cody Firearms Curator Warren Newman. “Winchester commissioned the Merry Company to build 200 motorcycles from 1909 – 1911 under the Winchester patent rights. This one was built in 1910, and it is almost completely original. Forty years of research have confirmed that it is the only one of the original 200 Winchester motorcycles still in existence.”
The Winchester Model 1910 motorcycle is powered by a single cylinder, six horsepower engine. It was advertised with metal store signs and special edition pocket watches. While it doesn’t look much like a typical contemporary motorcycle, it shares many of the features of those produced by other manufacturers during the same time period, such as Harley Davidson and Indian.
The motorcycle is on loan to the Historical Center from the collection of Ray Gibson of Turlock, California.
Since 1917, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West has been committed to the greatness and growth of the American West, keeping western experiences alive. The Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, weaves the varied threads of the western experience—history and myth, art and Native culture, firearms, and the nature and science of Yellowstone—into the rich panorama that is the American West.