Hendee Mfg Co. / Indian Motocycle Co. Bicycles Information Thread

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Gary Mc

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
1928 Indian Bicycles Catalog Part 2

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Gary Mc

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
1928 Indian Bicycles Catalog Part 3

NOTE: Indian line-up color is Indian Red, Indian Sagamore line-up is Indian Blue in 1928.

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Gary Mc

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
1927 For your viewing pleasure

From the Indian Motocycle 1927 Sales Brochure for All Models (Motorcycles only)

Brown Motor Company Indian Motorcycles & Bicycles Sales & Service
Detroit, Michigan

Notice the two equipped motobikes hanging in the window front & center!!!!!!! Wouldn't you just love to be able to step back in time & walk in this shop.....

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fordsnake

I live for the CABE
Here's the I believe is somewhere between 1924-1926 Indian Motorcycle Company brochure on the Merkel Motor Wheel. A long time Indian collector had marked this 1922 which I do not believe to be correct.

You are correct this Merkel brochure does not predate 1922! The Hendee Indian Mfg. Co., changed its name to the Indian Motocycle Company, Oct.26,1923, hence dating the brochure after 1923
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Westfield began building Indians before 1916!!
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Gary Mc

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Pope Westfield to build Indian Bicycles (Sept. 25, 1915)

Here's the whole page fordsnake posted in another thread:

On September 25, 1915, United States Investor periodical reports that Hendee Manufacturing Company has entered into arrangement with the Pope Plant in Westfield, Mass. to build bicycles to add to their motorcycle line-up and calls the addition of bicycles, "the new business is an experiment however, until it proves it's worth".

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Gary Mc

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Bicycling World & Motorcycle Review - April 4, 1901 ad

Bicycling World & Motorcycle Review - April 4, 1901 ad
page 20

Hendee Mfg. Co.
Makers of Indian Bicycles
Springfield, Mass.
ad

Pre-Motor Bicycles ad - Bikes only at this time although plans were in the works for a Motor Bicycle.


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Gary Mc

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Bicycling World & Motorcycle Review - April 25, 1901 ad page 101

Bicycling World & Motorcycle Review - April 25, 1901
page 101
article

Hedstrom to go with Hendee

Hedstrom nearing completion of gasoline powered chain driven motor for the Hendee Mfg. Co.

Hints of a Motor Bicycle with a Hedstrom designed motor to come for Hendee Mfg. Co.

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Gary Mc

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Bicycling World & Motorcycle Review - May 23, 1901

Bicycling World & Motorcycle Review - May 23, 1901
page 197
article

W.D. Wilmot's story: "A Good Indian Story"

Dealer discusses his 3 years of dealings with Hendee Mfg. Indian bicycles. Starts third paragraph from bottom, center column. Kind of a neat read and gives us the hint Hendee Mfg. Co. Indian bicycles date to as early as 1899.

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Gary Mc

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Bicycling World & Motorcycle Review - June 6, 1901

Bicycling World & Motorcycle Review - June 6, 1901
page 228
article

The Launch of the Hendee Motor Bicycle

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fordsnake

I live for the CABE
There are many articles on the Hendee and Hedstrom partnership and their motorcycle mission from 1900-1916. What seems lost is the bicycle side of the story from 1901 to 1916. This is where the gaps are?

It appears Hendee and Hedstrom were out to make a difference in the transportation world, but not with bicycles. It appears they produced bicycles until 1902, at which time the production of Indian motorcycles overshadowed the production of bicycles. It was not until the year 1916, when Westfield stepped in and the Indian Bicycles were back in production.

Here’s an excerpt about George M. Hendee and the discontinuing of bicycle manufacturing for 14 years.
1916 Indian Bicycle Catalog, page 09

1897 saw the beginning of the expansion of a name that means more in the two-wheeled industry than any other today. The Hendee Manufacturing Company was formed and floor space taken in a building on Worthington Street. Here the manufacture of Indian Bicycles started and went on until 1902, when the development of the motorcycle made their discontinuance necessary because Mr. Hendee felt it imperative that he give all his time and effort to the gasoline machine.

And now, after fourteen years, 1916 again brings back the Indian Bicycle.

Why?

Because both dealer and public have demanded a bicycle of INDIAN design, of INDIAN worth and carrying the service guarantee that the name INDIAN implies.

So once more we find the man who did so much for the bicycle again working and planning for it with the same enthusiasm that he had in his teens…
 

Gary Mc

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
There are many articles on the Hendee and Hedstrom partnership and their motorcycle mission from 1900-1916. What seems lost is the bicycle side of the story from 1901 to 1916. This is where the gaps are?

I agree, been searching and nothing so far after 1901 until 1915 article introducing the 1916 models that you found. Still looking, hoping to find a nugget that says bicycle production being discontinued in 190_. Trying to dig through 1901 docs now and 1902 next. I hear people talk about bikes from 1912-1915 but so far nothing to support there were any manufactured. If anyone has proof of production these years I'd love to see it.
 

ejlwheels

Wore out three sets of tires already!
I had heard that the Sears Chief was created in response to the popularity of Indian bicycles.
But it seems that it may have been the other way around? Sears had a Chief in 1915, which means they had developed it in 1914 (or at least early 1915). Perhaps because of the popularity of the Chief, they decided to experiment with marketing an Indian late in 1915?
 

fordsnake

I live for the CABE
I had heard that the Sears Chief was created in response to the popularity of Indian bicycles.
But it seems that it may have been the other way around? Sears had a Chief in 1915, which means they had developed it in 1914 (or at least early 1915). Perhaps because of the popularity of the Chief, they decided to experiment with marketing an Indian late in 1915?

And that little nugget I believe is where the confusion occurs with the Davis Sewing Machine Co. who built the Chief for SEARS, and the Harley Davidson bicycle. I have more on this theory but its on my laptop that is now being repaired.

I believe SEARS replicated the Indian!

Read the long article above (United States Investor - September 25, 1915), and what provoked George Hendee to reintroduce the bicycle. Also if you know anything about production, skews are usually made one or two years in advance because of tooling, production, marketing and advertising. For a 1916 launch i imagine that Hendee was in negotiations with Westfield prior to 1915?

Additionally, from the many articles I've read, SEARS had a cross-hair on their back...they were disliked by many bicycle manufacturers for stealing their designs and selling them for less!
 

fordsnake

I live for the CABE
I agree, been searching and nothing so far after 1901 until 1915 article introducing the 1916 models that you found. Still looking, hoping to find a nugget that says bicycle production being discontinued in 190_. Trying to dig through 1901 docs now and 1902 next. I hear people talk about bikes from 1912-1915 but so far nothing to support there were any manufactured. If anyone has proof of production these years I'd love to see it.


To fully understand the Indian strategy and their growth, one must fully understand the economic climate at the time.
I believe Hendee knew that the proliferation of bicycle manufacturing was changing and that society was shifting their interest in transportation. Motors were becoming more exciting and compelling! Many of the Bicycle Manufacturing at the turn of the century had jumped on the automotive manufacturing bandwagon; Pope Mfg Co., - Pope-Hartford, Pope-Robinson, Pope-Toledo, Pope-Tribune and Pope-Waverley; Pierce Cycle Company, Pierce –Arrow; Gormully & Jeffery – Rambler and Nash…and many more!
Additionally, there were two economic recession, 1903 and 1907.

The crash of 1903, the Dow Jones dropped 34.1 percent. The recession didn’t recovered until November 1904.
Then in 1907, there was another financial crisis that crippled the US. The New York Stock Exchange fell almost 50% from its peak the previous year. Panic occurred and extended across the nation as there were numerous runs on banks and trust companies. Many businesses entered bankruptcy. This crash lead to the creation of the Federal Reserve System.

And if that wasn’t enough? The United States participated in a global war; World War I (WWI) that began July 1914 and lasted until November 1918.


Read how Hendee tries to put an optimistic spin on the enconomy below.

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chitown

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
To fully understand the Indian strategy and their growth, one must fully understand the economic climate at the time.

I'll post this clip from a 1908 congressional hearing about continuing to tariff foreign trade. Just to give some historical context from that year and who was manufacturing bicycles. More important than who is listed is who isn't listed: Hendee, Mead Cycle & Davis Sewing Machine are not listed. The document states that they represent 90% of the bicycles built in the US of A. So Hendee may have been building bicycles, just not that many.


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You are right about the motor cycle being the driving economic force for these manufacturers at this time. Bicycles were overproduced after 1900 to what the market demand was, opening up the door for companies like Sears and Mead to buy bicycles in bulk and sell cheap. The teens is when bicycle marketing tactics changed and companies started to build and market bicycles for children who couldn't ride the motorcycles yet. So they designed them to look like motorcycles with tanks, fenders and lights.
 

Gary Mc

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
1926 Indian Bicycles Brochure Form No. E-1-26

1926 Indian Bicycles Brochure
Form No. E-1-26
Indian Motocycle Co.
Springfield, Mass., U.S.A.

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