Friday, 22 February 2013
This week's 'Mystery bike' was correctly identified as a Marman Twin, built by a company owned by Zeppo Marx.
Herbert 'Zeppo' Marx was the youngest of the Marx Brothers, and after making five films with his brothers, left acting to concentrate on being a theatrical agent.
Top to bottom: Chico, Harpo, Groucho and Zeppo
However, he was also an inventor/engineer/tinkerer, and after a chance meeting with an aircraft company executive who mentioned the lack of manufacturing workshops, set up the Marman Company in 1941. They are most famous for the Marman Clamp used to hold items inside aircraft, including the WWII atom bombs.
The Marman Twin used a flat twin engine from an unmanned aircraft (an early 'drone') fitted into a Schwinn bicycle frame. It was marketed as a rival to the popular 'Whizzer' and had the advantage of a proper clutch (the Whizzer disengaged the drive belt).
The Marman design was later sold to Jack & Heintz who sold the bike under their name.