Minerva ca. 1905 3 ½ HP 433 cc side valve single engine # 10206
Mr Sylvain de Jong, born in Amsterdam on 5 January 1868, moved to Brussels with his parents and two brothers to Brussels when he was thirteen years old.
After working for some years as a journalist, he went to the U.K. to study the safety bicycle production.
In 1895, S. de Jong, his brothers and other investors started a factory in Antwerp, to produce and repair bicycles. For these bicycles, they selected the name "Mercury".
Only two years later, after a dispute with the other investors, S. de Jong created on 15 October 1897; "S. de Jong & Cie".
This time he selected the name "Minerva" for the new plant in Antwerp.
Minerva the Roman goddess, daughter of Jupiter, sprang from the head of her father, fully grown and in full armour.
She was the patron of warriors, goddess of knowledge and wisdom and goddess of artisans and industry.
Sylvain de Jong anticipated on a slackening bicycle market and announced in February 1899, the production of light cars (voiturettes) and motorcycles.
In 1900, S. de Jong & Co. bought an engine from the Neuchâtel – Swiss based Zürcher & Lüthi. Zürcher & Lüthi did not only build the engines, they also patented the bicycle set-up.
The engines were "clamped to the framing" (clip-on). S. de Jong & Co. bought the licence and started the production of all parts needed to turn a Minerva bicyclette into a Minerva motocyclette.
Due to the reliability of the clip-on engine, success was immediate.
1904 was the first year that the engine was positioned in the “New Werner Position”, although a 2 HP clip-on model was still catalogued in 1906.
By 1904 three models were available in 254, 345 and 433 cc capacities.
All models had both valves mechanically operate and were equipped with a Longuemare patented carburettor that was made under licence in the Minerva factory.
The veteran we present here is an almost complete restoration project.