Creating A Flying Merkel Decal Set

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I live for the CABE
Oct 27, 2009
Niles, California
merkel drawing shot.jpg

Hoofhearted (Patric C.) and I have been working on a project together. Our goal was to address the absolute lack of any available good quality Flying Merkel decals. We've seen some pretty ugly ones mounted on some very expensive and rare bicycles and motorcycles, and felt that this was a travesty. Together, we suspected we could do a better job.

Patric and I began corresponding about four months ago, discussing Merkels in general and decals in particular. Patric had the same dissatisfactions I had, so we began to compare notes and share our work on the possibility of re-creating a Merkel decal set that would satisfy the requirements of a great restoration.

It became a bit like entering a detective story. We had only scraps to work from on our own bikes, and even the best survivor examples on the web were badly marred by the wear of time and usage.

We gathered every photograph we could find of every Merkel decal, and began collating them, piecing them together in Photoshop and comparing them to our fragmentary tracings. We asked the curators of the National Motorcycle Museum to re-photograph and measure the decals on the original paint examples in their collection - one bicycle and one motorcycle - and to our great fortune, they agreed to help.

Our researches answered some questions and raised others. The decals were apparently simply black ink overprinted on a silver foil. All the bicycle decals on any Merkel were apparently a single size, but the motorcycle decals considerably larger. There were variations on the down tube decals from year to year, and even some variety in the head tube decals.

We decided to pursue a recreation of the circa 1915-1916 badging, the ones in use until the introduction of the metal headbadge. And so we began the painstaking process of perfecting a set of drawings to our satisfaction and eventually preparing those drawings for printing. I would say I began working on this in earnest around the middle of December. Patric had been at it on his own long before that.

When we were satisfied (and exhausted), we painstakingly transferred the drawings to a vector format and went to print. Below are the results, output on waterslide decal paper from an ALPS printer...

merkel deal mounted d sm copy.jpg

merkel decal mounted 2.jpg

The time and expense of this endeavor has been considerable, partly because of the scarcity of surviving examples, and partly because Patric is extremely finicky. We're not interested in flooding the market with materials to create fake Merkels, so we have not produced a great deal of them. We do plan to have some for sale in the appropriate section of the CABE, but fair warning - they won't be cheap.

merkel sheet 1.jpg
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Saint Lactose The Tolerant
Jan 20, 2010
Fairborn, Ohio
1916-Flying-Merkel-Bicycle-00 COPY.jpg

These are a few of the relic-decals that we used
in the development of our creations. See below .....

In the days (weeks, maybe) following .. Barracuda and
I will explore the use of 1500-2000 grit wet or dry sand-
paper AND the use of a Sharpie Permanent Marker ..
ultra fine point.

The tip of these pens can make a mark as fine as .20 to
.25 mm.

These pens may be usable to further define the folds
within the drapery area, within the headtube decal.

We found no evidence that the fold areas (headtube decal)
were filled in ...but some relic-decals indicate that black ink
may have been present .. at one time .. in areas where the
orange comes thru on our decals.

The orange is not part of an ink-system to make the decal.
The orange is simply the color of the background color ...
VISIBLE thru the transparent layer of the decal

A blue bicycle would have blue peepin' thru ....

F-M  1917  script HORSEPOWER  COPY 2.jpg
1916-Flying-Merkel-Bicycle- f-m 06.jpg
1916-Flying-Merkel-Bicycle-002  TOUCH-UPS.jpg

F-M 06  Well &#!^ .....jpg

View attachment 292834


1912-Flying-Merkel-PC-2 copy.jpg


^^^^^ Post 1912 Era Decal (just above).
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