The 1904 Marsh motorcycle was built by the Marsh brothers, one of the first of the numerous motorcycle manufacturers dotting America's Eastern Coast in the industry's early days. Located in Brockton, Massachusetts, the Marsh brothers built a motorized bicycle in 1899, with regular production of motobikes commencing the following year.
Unlike many early manufacturers, which used engines built by outside suppliers, Marsh made its own.
Like most powerplants of the day, it had a single cylinder with an intake valve opened by suction created when the piston was on its downward stroke (called an "atmospheric intake valve") and a mechanically actuated side exhaust valve.
Though the first production engines produced less than two horsepower, a racing engine offering six horsepower was built in 1902. The motorcycle it powered could reach nearly 60 miles per hour, a blistering speed at the time.
In 1905, the Marsh brothers teamed up with Charles Metz and the resulting motorcycles were called Marsh & Metz, or just M.M.
Marsh & Metz was among the first companies to offer a V-twin engine. It was a 45-degree unit that arrived around 1906. Two years later, a 90-degree V-twin appeared, which was claimed to offer better internal balance.
But the pioneering manufacturer didn't last long. Like many others of the era, M.M. folded under the weight of stiff competition, closing its doors in 1913.
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1904 Marsh Pictures
The 1904 Marsh was little more than a motorized bicycle, but was nicely designed and one set up for racing could go 60 mph.