Nimbus Motocycle Fisker & Nielsen Made in Copenhagen, 1950 2010.014.001 - Gift of Peter and Irma Ørum, in memory of Stig P. Ørum
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On May 29, Peter and Irma Ørum made a unique donation to the Museum—that of a 1950 Nimbus motorcycle. This bike, given during a special ceremony on the Museum grounds during the Tivolifest celebration, has traveled between Denmark and the United States more than once.
What is a Nimbus, you might ask? It was the most well known motorcycle ever produced in Denmark. Approximately 14,000 of these unique bikes were made by the Copenhagen firm of Fisker & Nielsen between the years of 1919 and 1960. The Nimbus was intended primarily for use by the Danish postal, military, and police services, but also for civilian use.
In 1960, production of the Nimbus motorcycle was stopped due to the introduction of foreign motorcycles into the marketplace, as well as cheaper scooter alternatives. Fisker & Nielsen is still alive and well today as a well known manufacturer of quality vacuum cleaners. One of their most recognized vacuums is the Nilfisk GM-80, a machine used by museums all over the world including at The Danish Immigrant Museum.
Peter Ørum loves the Nimbus motorcycle. In the late 1980s, while visiting Enghave Motors in Copenhagen, he saw a restored 1950 Nimbus. He purchased the bike and had it transported across the water to St. Charles, Illinois. Peter discovered a group of Danes and Americans in the greater Chicago metro that shared his love for the distinct motorcycle, and soon he formed the Midwest Nimbus Club.
The Ørum family hosted many Nimbus Club events on their plant nursery property in St. Charles. One of these events was a spring ride held in 1990 that began in the nursery and continued through the rolling farmlands west of St. Charles. Peter, along with his 16-year-old son Stig, was excited to participate in this annual event.
During the ride, a motorist failed to heed a stop sign and struck Peter and Stig who were riding together on the green Nimbus at the head of the column of motorcycles. Both Peter and Stig were thrown from the motorcycle, suffering terrible injuries. Peter survived, but Stig did not.
Peter and Irma kept the wrecked Nimbus for many years in a shed, unsure of what to do with it. Through associations with The Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, a future for it was found.
In 2009, Peter and Irma commissioned Niels Nielsen, a well known Nimbus mechanic located in Frederikssund, Denmark, to restore it to factory specifications. They brought the bike to Elk Horn and rode it in the Tivoli parade before presenting it to the Museum for its permanent collection. It is a touching tribute to Stig P. Ørum by his family, and is now on display on the Lower Level of the Museum.