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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Posted in Motorcycle photos, Out Of The Box | Tagged , , , , , , |

Studebaker Touring Car and Electric Truck Postcards

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  • An Actress using a Studebaker Touring car as a dressing room circa 1908

Automotive advertising collector Alden Jewell came across this pair of Studebaker postcards and would like to know: “Who the leading actress was who used this car as a dressing room”? The pair of cards have been dated 1910, but we believe that the car above may date back to 1908 based on its design and the shape of its radiator and front fender.

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  • 1907 and 1908 Studebaker details in period magazine articles

Studebaker bought the chassis for its first gasoline cars starting in 1903 from the Garford Company of Elyria, Ohio, and later took control of the company and continued a relationship with it through the 1911 model year. The car on the postcard appears to be a 1908 Studebaker Model B 40 h.p. Touring Car as seen in the Motor magazine ad above right. In addition to the gas cars, the automaker also built a complete line of electric cars and trucks between the years of 1902 and 1912.

The article on the left and center above from the Horseless Age, March 1907 issue describes the 28-32 h.p. car that was similar to the 1908 model. On the above right is an ad from the November 1907, Motor showing the 1908 models that were available.

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  • A circa 1910 Five-Ton Studebaker Electric Truck

The Studebaker Electric Truck postcard above shows an injured elephant that was named either Maude or Mille. She is seen with a bandaged left front leg and the text on the card tells how the truck was being used as an ambulance to take her to a vet. The article on the left and center below from the May 1908, Auto Trade Journal, shows and describes an identical five-ton truck and a smaller U.S. Navy ambulance.

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  • Studebaker and Garford Electric Truck details in period magazine articles

Interestingly on the right above is an ad found in the January 11, 1908, Automobile Topics showing the Garford Light Electric Wagon; it is quite similar to the smaller Studebaker unit, which may indicate that Garford might have used the Studebaker chassis for its truck?

More Studebaker Electric and Garford photos and information can be found at the History of the Studebaker Corporation. Postcard images courtesy of Alden Jewell.

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Posted in Auto photos 1885 - 1920, Trucks, Buses and Equipment | Tagged , , , , , |

The Sunday Edition No.VII – The 1957 Pikes Peak Hill Climb – Double-Ended Model T Ford – A Streamlined Motor Home

The video for our Sunday Edition today was produced for the Socony Mobil Oil Company and shows and describes the running of the 1957 Pikes Peak Hill Climb. The event was sanctioned at the time by USAC with classes for both open-wheeled championship type racing cars and stock cars. In addition to the racing cars, at points in the video there are some interesting views of parked spectators cars. Bob Finey won the champ car class, and Jerry Unser took the stock car class win.

You can learn more at about the history of the event at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The video is courtesy of the pikespeaklibrary.

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Reader Stan Fleming sent in this photo of a double-ended novelty car, made out of a Model T Ford. By the mid to late-teens used Ford’s and parts could be obtained cheaply and we assume that the first of these may have been constructed starting in that period or the 1920s. If anyone knows more about the origin of this type of car or the details behind this later one, please send us a comment.

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In response to our recent post on the Zephyr Land-Yacht, reader Lillian Manfried from the United Kingdom sent us a copy of this press photo she bought at a flea market. She would like to learn more about it including the constructor and what type of chassis it is on. Send us a comment of you have any knowledge about it and can help out.

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 (we will send you and email address) and include your full name so we can credit your submission.

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