The Big Car Database

Marsh Metz

The Marsh Motorcycle Company is a defunct American motorcycle maker founded in Brockton, Massachusetts.

The company was formed by the Marsh brothers in Brockton. In 1905, it was combined with Charles Metz's Metz Motorcycle Company to create the American Motorcycle Company.

Charles Herman Metz was founder of the Waltham Manufacturing Co. in 1893, one of the oldest American factories to build bicycles, tricycles, quadricycles and motorcycles, sold under the names Waltham and Orient. He designed the Orient Aster, America’s first production motorcycle, in 1898, using an imported Aster engine, basically a re-badged De Dion patent engine, an IOE design with atmospheric inlet valve. For his motorcycle designs, he had help from French bicycle racer Albert Champion, who had no doubt spent track time with pacers using the De Dion engine. Waltham also built clones of the De Dion-Bouton tricycles and quadricycles from 1899; many of these Orient 3-wheelers survive today. Metz is sometimes credited with being the first to use the term “motor cycle,” as seen in his 1899 ads for his Orient two-wheeler.

In 1902, Metz left Waltham to found the Metz Motorcycle Co. His Metz motorcycle was demonstrated in speed and reliability trials, and that year recorded an American one-mile speed record of 1 minute 10.4 seconds, or 52.6 MPH. In 1905, Metz joined forces with the American Motorcycle Co., founded by the Marsh brothers, who had built its own prototype motorized bicycle in 1899, the 1 HP Marsh Motor Bicycle. By 1902 the MMB integrated the engine into the frame, the first step to becoming a proper motorcycle. The new Marsh-Metz (or MM) motorcycle emerged in 1906, with its own-make engine at the bottom of the frame, and the cylinder forming the seat post, very similar to the Indian design of 1901. They introduced the first V-twin in America in 1906, an unusual design with a 90-degree vee angle, which might look wide compared to other American V-twins of 50 degrees, but was a far better engineering proposition, having perfect primary balance: ask any Ducati or Moto Guzzi rider.

This 1909 Marsh-Metz single is the original single-cylinder design of that company, and is completely restored to a 98-point standard. The Marsh-Metz is one of the most important historic American brands, having roots in the very first production motorcycle, and was renowned in the day for its lustrous nickel finish on the cylindrical fuel tank and its great performance. This is a rare and historic machine.

Marsh, a pioneer of the motorcycle industry, started an American motorcycle company that was around from 1901 until late 1905.

The Marsh brothers built their first motorized bicycle in 1899. The 1hp, single cylinder engine soon reached 1.75hp and the Marsh Motor Bicycle was put on the market. Their motor bicycle was among the first to resemble more of an actual motorcycle than a bicycle with a motor. In 1902, the Motorcycle Manufacturing Company integrated the engine with the frame. Charles Metz started the Waltham Manufacturing Co. in Waltham, Mass. There they made bicycles and produced Orient motorcycles for 1898 to 1904 using Astor engines. He left Waltham in 1902 and started building Metz motorcycles. He became well known for high quality products, using bright plating and polishing.

Metz used his own engines to produce single and V-twin engines. Marsh merged with Metz Motorcycle Company around 1906. The company became known as “M-M”, Marsh Metz. Together, they were more capable of conquering the market. They became the first to develop a 90 degree V-twin. Marsh-Metz sold engines under other names like Peerless, American, National and Arrow. However, like many other motorcycle companies, they closed down in 1913.