Did You Know. Who Invented The Word Motorcycle?

pennington-motorcycleEdward Joel Pennington from Indiana (1858-1911) is often credited with having invented the word “motorcycle”, using it for the 1st time in 1893. Inventor of many things – ignition systems, balloon tires, airship, etc – he basically was the first person to invent a gas-powered motorcycle, demonstrating his original motorcycle design in Milwaukee in 1895.

He was well known for his grandiose and exaggerated claims regarding what his inventions could accomplish.

He was able to get financial backing for many of his business ventures, but most failed even before any product was produced. Some even accusing him of fraud but he never did jail time. After the failure of his motorcycle plans, E.J. Pennington turned to cars and although he had investors and pre-paid orders, none was delivered (the original design is preserved by the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire, England.)

After so many failures he spent his time trying to collect money from those he accused as having violated his patents. E.J. Pennington is still today considered by many as the main inspiration for the founders of Harley-Davidson.

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8 Responses to “Did You Know. Who Invented The Word Motorcycle?”


  1. 1 Kirk Perry Mar 4th, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Then they should name a model Pennington. The EJP for their first tandem bagger.

  2. 2 Doug Mar 4th, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    What is a “tandem” bagger?

  3. 3 Kirk Perry Mar 4th, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    “tandem” bagger?”
    ••••••••••••••••••••••••
    As illustrated. Give the packee something to do, other than bobbleheading and monitoring the fuel level. A pair of stationary handlebars – and lowering the frame-tail, then add custom-angled leather “mailpouch” saddlebags with cornering clearance. Freeway pegs are already there.
    Photoshop the changes to see what it would look like.

  4. 4 Kirk Perry Mar 4th, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    This stretched frame and it’s wide turning arc, is a Dick & Jane example for some of the most recent “high-sided” head-on collisions, when motorcycle riders fail to negotiate curves.
    If you take any of these: Terazosin, Simvastatin, Finasteride, Hydrochlorothiazide, Amlodipine Besylate, or Bupropion …. one or more taken routinely as directed, might make it difficult for your brain —- to transmit to your internal gyro-balancer —- that you need to make this upcoming turn in a tighter radius than your current dead-heading (which is across the double-yellow).

  5. 5 Terence Tory Mar 4th, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    As people can see from my in depth and encyclopedic knowledge of all things relating to motorcycles and the wisdom needed to face life with grace and purpose,I invented the motorcycle.

    But that was in a previous incarnation.

  6. 6 Larry Lamonaco Mar 4th, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    TT, all your knowledge does come from encyclopedias, you say you invented the motorcycle but I suppose you don’t have any photos of that either just like you don’t have any photos of any of your other builds. You are such a BS artist don’t try to be funny stick with what you do best BS

  7. 7 Dave Blevins Mar 4th, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Having a bully day wearing bowler hats & riding the mechanized bicycle! Bully indeed.

  8. 8 Brian Bonde Mar 10th, 2014 at 9:18 am

    I laugh when I read this because it reminds me of Bob Illingworth. I didn’t know much about motorcycles then and I was talking about an “engine.” He said, “It’s not an engine, its a motor. They’re not called ‘enginecycles.'”

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