Bikes to Tractors
  Seeing a Shaw motorbike is, to my way of thinking, a rare experience.  It's an experience a lot like that of the bird-watchers, with binoculars in hand, out to get a glimpse at one of our more rare fine-feathered-friends.

   I have seen a few Shaw bikes.  I visited with Jon-Paul Bingham when he taught at Clarkson University.  He has some nicely restored bikes, as well as a lot of information about the early Shaw bikes and engines.    I left his home marveled by the Shaw clip-on engine that he showed me, which he had found online and that was still in its original shipping crate...never been used.

   I've seen John Hasty's U-tube video of him tearing around Galesburg on his restored Shaw.  

   But the Shaw bike I accidently came across at the Glen Curtise Museum, in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, takes first prize.  I was driving home to Buffalo one day, from Corning, NY, and thought the museum would be a good place to take break... when all of a sudden "thar-she-be."

shaw curtis11.jpg

Click below for additional pictures:




  There are some close similarities between the life of Stanley Shaw and Glenn Curtise.  They were both born about the same time.  Both were interested in motorized bicycles and built their own from scratch.  But, that's where the similarities begin to part.  Mr. Shaw was interested in building a engine that was suitable for most bicyclist, whereas Mr. Curtiss wanted a bike with speed ... for the more daring.  By 1908 Glenn Curtise held the land speed record of 64 mph on a bike.  He then went on to adapt his engines to the newly emerging field of air flight.  Mr. Shaw's expertise, of course, eventually made its mark in the field of agriculture.

   As the twentieth century unfolded, both men were at the cutting edge of their respective industries.  The walk-behind tractor did its part to help feed a growing population; the motorcycle and airplane  did their part to keep that growing population connected.  The service these emerging industries provided at the beginning of the century are no less significant than has been the impact of the internet, the cell phone or the develpment of digital images for cameras and TV's ... at the tail-end of the century.  When I say "no less significant," I probably mean "far more significant," or at least, "as significant" as those later developments. Anyway, the Glenn Curtise museum seems a fitting repose for such a well restored Shaw.



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