By Shawn P. Sweeney
Special thanks to Patric Cafaro for much of this info which was taken from his CBN article (Nov-Dec 2011).
Huffman Mfg. Co. began building bicycles in October of 1934. The factory produced 8 to 12 units per day, on one shift, October through December of 1934. (Horace M. Huffman Jr., interview 1992). This figures to be somewhere between 520-780 bikes produced for all models for 1934. To put this in perspective Schwinn built 86,000 bicycles in 1934.
The frames for the first two years of Huffman production are very similar. The difference between the 1934 and 1935 model is that the seat stays on the ’34 (Fig 1) are straight whereas the ’35 stays (Fig 2) have a slight bow to them.
In his article Patric notes that “that all fenders are made using a radius of 14-inches to accommodate both the 26” and 28” tire. The fenders are also made wide … for the 26″ tire. All models sport 28″ braces.”
I don’t think this is true for the rear fenders at least regarding the braces. The rear fenders have spacers (Figures 3 & 4) while the front does not. At the very least the braces for the rear would be 26” specific. I have yet to see a 28” bike although so few of these exist in original condition that it would be hard to determine from just a frame how the bike was originally outfitted. The pictures of the Model D4 with stainless fenders do not clearly show if the stainless fender equipped bikes also had these spacers. It appears to me that regardless of tire size all the frames were built the same for the respective model e.g. Models H-1 to H-4 all the same frame.
The paint scheme for the Daytons was different than for the Huffman level bikes. The Dayton level bike had a solid color frame in either red or black with stainless fenders.
The Huffman level bikes had either red, black, or blue frames and fenders with stripes on the fenders and a white head tube and frame darts with contrasting pin stripes*.
*Another item to note regarding paint is the difference on Louisville Supply Co. bikes.
The Huffman level bikes have the raised center portion of the fender painted (one wide stripe) with pinstripes separating the colors (Figure 5). The Louisville Cycle Supply bikes have a different paint scheme from the Huffman level bikes with two wide stripes on the fender and no pinstripes (Figure 6).
The following info was copied by Patric from a copy of a dealers brochure for ’34. The “H” signifies Huffman level and any number of badges e.g. LaFrance, Dixie Flyer, Snell, etc…The Dayton models were referred to as “D” models e.g. D-4 was the top of the line Huffman model. I’m not sure if the National line was produced in ’34 but if so I would suspect they are equipped like the Dayton bikes with a solid color (red or black) frame and stainless fenders.
H-1 Motorbike … Same as H-2 but with 28″ X 1.5″ tires on 28″ Chrome-Armored rims.
H-2 Motorbike having black and white 26″ X 2.125″ tires … Chrome Steel Rims … Boy Scout Handle Bar … No. 1 Bucket … Torrington 8 Pedals … Frame and Fenders Motorbike… Enameled …. Color choice of Black with Red Head … Blue or Black with White Head …. Pinstriped … Rear Stand cadmium plated.
H-3 Motorbike … Same as H-4 but with 28″ X 1.5″ tires on 28″ Chrome-Armored Rims.
H-4 Motorbike … Identical to H-2 … PLUS … Tank .. Hand Horn .. Electric Lamp … Luggage Carrier … Frame and Fenders Motorbike … Enameled … Color choice of Black with Red Head or Red, Blue or Black with White Head …. Pinstriped … Rear Stand cadmium plated.
H-5 Camelback … Same as H-6 but with 28″ X 1.5 tires on 28″ Chrome-Armored Rims.
H-6 Camelback having black and white 26″ X 2.125″ tires …Chrome Steel Rims … Boy Scout Handle Bar …No. 2 Bucket … Torrington 8 Pedals … Camelback Frame with Motorbike Fenders … Enameled …. Color choice of Black with Red Head … Red, Blue, or Black with White Head … Pinstriped … Rear Stand cadmium plated.
>>>> H-7 and H-8 …. THE BROCHURE MAKES NO MENTION OF H-7 or H-8 <<<<<
H-9 Woman’s Model … Same as H-10 but with 28″ X 1.5″ tires on Chrome-Armored Rims.
H-10 Woman’s Model having black and white 26″ X 2.125″ tires … Chrome Steel Rims … No. 6 – 22″ Handle Bar … Woman’s Bucket Saddle … Torrington 9 Pedals … Woman’s Frame with Motorbike Fenders and Half Chain Guard … Enameled … Color Choice of Black with Red Head … Red, Blue or Black with White Head. Pinstriped … Dress Guards … Rear Stand cadmium plated.
1934 Huffman (American Flyer) Motorbike Model H-2 (Courtesy of Don Lowman)
1934 Huffman (LaFrance) Camelback Model H-6
1934 Huffman (Dayton) Motorbike Model D-4
1934 Huffman (Dayton) Motorbike Model D-4
(Courtesy of Patric Cafaro-Bicycle Museum of America-BMA)
A few other observations; the camel back model does not have truss rod stand offs on the fork and does not appear to have been equipped with truss rods. Both forks have the “pinch” at the top of the crown though. The illustration for the Model D-4 (Dayton) shows a Mussleman front hub—the so-called Aerocycle hub. Interestingly most original Aerocycles I’ve seen do not have this hub. I suspect this was a ’34 only feature and was probably optional on the Huffman level bikes with New Departure being standard equipment. Lastly the front fender on the Camelback is different (longer) than the Motorbike which has a much shorter overhang typical of motorbike fenders of the day.
Another interesting note is the seat shown in the print ad for the Dayton (D4). Like the Schwinn Aerocycle ad of the day it shows a wire frame seat instead of the flat rail seat of production bikes (Troxel rolled edge seat). It should also be noted this seat was used only on the motorbike style frames while the camelback called for a “No. 2 Bucket” seat according to the literature. I believe the No. 2 bucket to be a long spring, wire frame seat but am unsure of exact make/model.
All Huffman models featured Torrington 8 pedals and white wall tires according to the literature. The literature and BMA Dayton (D4) shows what appear to be Torrington 10 pedals. The ad for the D4 also shows a solid colored tire-black? red? Lastly the stems appear to be different between the Huffman level and Dayton level bikes.
While not that desirable these bikes are truly rare due the very limited production. They are historically important from the perspective that these were the first bikes made by Huffman which later became Huffy. While no longer American made Huffy and Schwinn are the last two remaining American brands to survive from the hundreds that once existed. Anyone with additional information on these bikes can contact the author at Oldbikeguy1@hotmail.com.