Category Archives: Motorcycle photos

The Globe of Death – Going Round and Round and Up and Down

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  • The Mendoza’s Globe of Fate motorcycle and bicycle act

A little over a week ago on The Sunday Edition we featured a Wall of Death thrill show film. Geoff, a reader from Australia commented on it and told us of the Durkin Brothers Globe of Death show that traveled the Down Under entertainment circuit for over 20 years. In many of these acts as seen above, riders loop vertically as well as horizontally in a globe while traveling at speed on motorcycles.

We decided to investigate a little further and found that in March of 1904, Arthur Rosenthal, a bicycle stuntman of Grand Rapids, Michigan, filed a patent application for certain new and useful improvements in bicyclists globes. His patent for a Bicyclist’s Globe was granted quickly on May 3, 1904, and the patent drawing for it can be seen below.

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  • Arthur Rosenthal’s 1904 patent drawing for a Bicyclist’s Globe

From what we were able to piece together from period bicycle magazines and other sources, Rosenthal and his partner, Frank Lemon, performed routines of skill and nerve guaranteed to deliver laughs and roars at fairs, amusement parks, and in shows across the land. The pair soon turned to motorcycles and the act became known as the Globe of Death. 

We found references to many other performers with similar globes and acts starting in the early teens including Guido Consi, an Italian daredevil, who introduced his Sphere of Fear in 1913 during a circus performance in Rome. An German engineer, also built and operated a globe act prior to World War I.

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  • Two early Globe of Death acts can be seen on the left and center above. The Durkin Brothers act of Australia can be seen above right in the mid-1940s

Cedero and his Golden Globe arrived in New York City in 1915, the first of several Brazilian globes and globe riders to travel to the United States. His act was performed at carnivals and circuses here in the U.S. until leaving for a tour of Central and South America in 1940. Between the two World Wars, the popular Globe of Death shows enjoyed the greatest popularity in Brazil.

Below is a more recent 1950s video of a news film clip of a Globe of Death act, filmed at Palisades Park in New Jersey, courtesy of Buyout Footage. This short presentation will show you just how exciting one of these acts can be. The photos above are courtesy of The Globe of Death Chronicles, and The McWhirters Project.

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The Sunday Edition No. VI – The Wall of Death – A 1940s Dodge and Plymouth Showroom – The 1922 Velie

This is a documentary of the Ken Kox Troupe by Benedict Cambell showing the lives of a family that travel the British Isles and Europe with a Wall of Death thrill show, a hold- over from earlier times. The Troupe still uses a pair of Indian Scout motorcycles which were the machine of choice for the shows back in the period.

Ken Fox, who has been riding on the Wall for close to forty years, bought the show which had been in one place in an amusement park for twenty years and put it on the road in 1982. You can learn more at the Ken Fox Troupe, and at Sideshow World.

  • wall of deathThe Alevans Wall of Death, a British Stunt Show photo via Sideshow World

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Reader Frank James sent along the photo above of Dodge and Plymouth agency by the name of L Motors that was photographed at some point in time between the years of 1946 and 1948. He is interested in finding out if anyone knows where this very up-to-date dealership was located.

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The Velie was a well-made mid-priced car that was manufactured in Moline, Illinois, between the years of 1909 and 1929. This pair of photos of both the Sport and Standard Touring 1923 Model 58 cars, was taken by reader Jerry McDermott’s father who was a professional photographer.

Automotive Industries magazine must have thought highly of the new model and its o.h.v. six-cylinder engine as we were able to find a two-page article below all about the new engine. You can learn all about the manufacturer at the Velie Motor Cars.

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The Sunday Edition is for reader contributions, please join in and share with other vintage car enthusiasts from all around the world. If you have a great photo, know of an excellent video, a mystery or story, contact us here and include your full name so we can credit your submission. If you have a photo to submit, we will send you an email address you can forward it to.

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Posted in Auto photos 1921 - 1942, Auto photos 1946 - 1965, Motorcycle photos, video | Tagged , , , , , , |

Motorcycle Gymnasts at Munchen, Germany

Today is the Forth of July and the start of a holiday weekend, so for a little quick entertainment for you we found this entertaining news clip dating from 1934. The production shows a skilled team of motorcycle and automobile drivers preforming in front of a good-sized crowd at Munchen, Germany. There are no fireworks to show you, but the the mad radio operator for the troupe does put on a good show when his equipment short circuits. Courtesy of British Pathe.

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