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Motor Cycle - Liberty Model 33, 1916 Object Reg. No: ST 008477

Manufactured in Victoria by the Acme Motor & Engineering Company of 355 Lonsdale Street Melbourne around 1916. It was typical during the two decades before the First World War for bicycle manufacturers to diversify into motor cycle production, often building or assembling motor cycles from largely imported components and selling them under their own brand name. The Liberty brand had been introduced in 1901 for the earlier Acme Cycle Company's range of bicycle components. The first Liberty motor cycle produced by Acme appeared around 1904 using imported Minerva and Chater Lea components. The business was run at this time by partners Sydney Darby and Frank Bennett.

This belt-driven motor cycle is representative of early lightweight designs built before and during the First World War. It is little more than a power assisted bicycle and it retains the pedals, handbrakes and lightweight frame of a bicycle with a single-cylinder four-stroke engine made by S.T.A.S Fritz Moser, St Aubin, Switzerland. Acme also used Fafnir, Blumfield and Peco engines for their machines. The Liberty brand-name was apparently reserved for the single-cylinder model.

To start an early motor cycle like this, the rider would use the pedals like a push bike to gather speed before engaging the clutch to kick the motor over and start it. This motor cycle is particularly significant, not only because it is of Victorian manufacture but also because it has been in the Museum's collection since new and was the first motorcycle purchased for the collection. It cost 24 Pounds when it was acquired from the Acme Motor & Engineering Company in 1916. It is believed to be the only surviving example of a Liberty motor cycle.
Steel frame with rubber drive-belt and tyres. Leather saddle. Single cylinder, 1.75 H.P., four stroke S.T.A.S. engine.
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 1000 mm (Height), 520 mm (Width), 2005 mm (Length)

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Tagged with: motor cycles
Themes this item is part of: Engineering Collection, Transport Collection, Motor Cycle Collection
Primary Classification: ROAD TRANSPORT
Secondary Classification: Motor Cycles
Tertiary Classification: motor cycles
Inscriptions: Transfer on mud guard reads: "The Acme Cycle Coy, Manufacturers, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne." Fuel tank has painted lettering "Liberty 33" each side.
Manufacturer: Acme Cycle Co, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1916
Manufacturer: S.T.A.S. Fritz Moser, St Aubin, Switzerland, 1915-1916

Manufacturer of engine.
  1. [Book], Mr Robert Saward, A-Z of Australian-Made Motorcycles, Turton & Armstrong Pty Ltd, 1996, 1996, 116 Pages


Stuart Gordon Posted on 09 Nov 2009 9:46 AM
Fiona, there is not a collection of bike frame and bike builders, especially from Melbourme's inner west suburbs? Cheers...
Discovery Centre Posted on 15 Dec 2009 4:45 PM
Museum Victoria Comment
Hi there Stuart. Would you be able to clarify your question further? Please click the 'Ask the Experts' link below and we'll pass your enquiry on to one of our History & Technology curators.

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