Energy & Sustainability
Steam powered motorcycle (photos)

Wow, we’re getting a lot of great submissions to add to our growing collection of “Maker made” transportation, here’s a series of photos from an early homemade steam powered motorcycle… Annette writes – Ray Clift was born in August, 1912, in Bellingham, WA, where he spent most of his growing up years and young adulthood. Ray was an inventive fellow, as were many of his contemporaries, as kids back then didn’t have many toys. They made their toys! Ray’s working years were spent in photography, machine shop, mechanical engineering and drafting.

Ray and I were married in September, 1973, so I was not an eye witness to his early endeavors. All I have are some photos he kept, his notations, and memories of things he mentioned to me. I believe that the motorcycle was Ray’s only invention using steam power. I recall him saying that the motorcycle wouldn’t go very far.

Ray must have sold or given the motorcycle to someone, probably before he moved to Seattle, WA, about 1949. I remember that an old friend of his told him that he had seen what he thought was the motorcycle, lying abandoned and rusting in a field.

Here are the wonderful photos from Annette…

Motorcycle – Ray Clift built this steam powered motorcycle in 1947.

Motorcycle – A closer look. The lady partially seen on the edge of the photo must be Ray’s mother.

Motorcycle – Another view of the cycle and the family’s home & cars.

Motorcycle – Perhaps this was how the steam was delivered to the cycle (?).

Steam Boiler 1947 – “Steam boiler for motorcycle, about 1947,” as Ray wrote on the back of this photo.

Steam Engine 1936 – Ray wrote on back of photo, “Small steam engine(about 1936).

Steam Engine Parts – Ray wrote on back of photo, “Steam engine parts.”

Steam Engine 1927 – Ray wrote on back of photo, “Steam engine, 1905 Cornwall Ave. about 1927.”


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