Norbert H. Schickel Inducted to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame!
Author Kenneth Anderson, Grandson of Norbert Schickel
SCHICKEL MOTOR COMPANY
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SCHICKEL MOTOR COMPANY
The origin of the Schickel Motor Co. actually began at Cornell University when Norbert H. Schickel, a sophomore-engineering student, designed and built a two-cycle motorcycle engine as a class project. The engine was so successful that he used the next two years of college to refine it and design a complete motorcycle.He also submitted an application for a patent on the engine.Just prior to his graduation in 1909 he was informed that his engine was issued Patent No. 377727 on April 15, 1909.
Following graduation Norbert H. Schickel went to work for the Franklin Motor Co., which produced the Franklin Motor Car. His interest in his two-cycle motorcycle influenced him to leave the Franklin Motor Company in September of 1910 to continue working on the prototype motorcycle he developed in college.
Work was completed in time to exhibit it at the February 1911 Chicago Motorcycle Show where it received an enthusiastic reception. This persuaded Norbert H. Schickelto begin The Schickel Motor Company to produce and market the motorcycle. Real estate in his hometown of NYC was too expensive so he found what he considered to be the perfect location at 55 Garden St. Stamford, CT. and production began in 1912.
The first model was a 5 horsepower, two-cycle, belt driven motorcycle with a top speed of 50 mph at a price of $225. In 1913 a 6 hp model was offered along with a chain drive for $240. Production continued through 1914 when completion from other motorcycle manufacturers and the growing automotive industry resulted in Mr. Schickel seeing the companys future in producing a more economical, lightweight model. The Lightweight Schickel Motorcycle was introduced at the January 1915 NYC Automotive show and was well received. It retained many of the features of the original including a two-cycle engine. It was advertised as having 2 1/2 hp, weighing 95 pounds, capable of 100 miles per gallon and sold for $100. Improvements were made in 1916 and 1917 including increasing the horsepower to 3 1/2.
Following our entrance into WW I in April 1917 production ended and the factory was converted to the wartime production of rocker arms for the Liberty Aircraft Engine. A newly redesigned Lightweight Motorcycle called the Model T was introduced after the war, however sales never reached anticipated levels and the Schickel Motor Company was forced to file for bankruptcy and close in 1924.During its years of operation approximately 1000 motorcycles were produced.
Footnote: Following the closing of the factory Norbert H. Schickel returned to Cornell U. where he received a Doctors Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He then began a successful career in real estate design and development in Ithaca, NY until his death in July 1960.
Norbert H. Schickel, President, Founder, Designer, Manager,
inspecting engine parts probably about 1916.