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Discussion in 'Antique Bicycles Pre-1933' started by ace, Apr 20, 2013.
Can anyone tell me what year this Indian Bicycle was built by the placement of the tank straps?
westfield manufactured 1917-1921. absolutely stunning bike btw
Please document westfield mfg. --mr columbia?
(AWESOME BIKE!! I DID NOT THINK THAT NEEDED TO BE SAID BUT MY POST MIGHT NOT HAVE COMMUNICATED THAT)
I am not saying no- I am trying to learn. I am trying to compile information on these bikes that I hope to share via my website+the cabe and welcome any input.
Some say Davis! Mel Short had an orig with Davis seatube decal- trying to get a picture.
I have ads that say BUILT AND BACKED BY THE MAKERS OF THE INDIAN MOTORCYCLE, here is one:
I always thought indians were made by westfield? maybe they were made by davis.
Im confused now.
Thanks. Another pic.
Before I sold my Indian last month...I was able to put together a brief time line on the Indian from research:
The company had three names in its lifetime: "The Hendee Manufacturing Company" (1901-1925), "The Indian Motocycle Company" (1925-1951) and "The Indian Company" owned by The Indian Sales Corp. (1951-1962).
1. 1898, a former bicycle racer George M. Hendee, opens a small shop on Worthington Street in Springfield, Mass., fabricating bicycles. Named the "American Indian", it was later shorten to simply "Indian" because it gave better product recognition in the export markets.
2. By 1900 the small shop on Worthington Street in Springfield, Mass., was fabricating 4,000 bicycles a year.
3. In 1901, Carl Oscar Hedstrom joins the company and designs a prototype diamond frame bike with a gasoline engine for mass production. The first Indian motorcycle featured a chain drive and streamlined styling, and sold to the public in 1902, two years before the Harley-Davidson Motor Company.
4. The Indian motorcycle quickly becomes a favorite and it eclipsed their bicycles market. With its success the company expands their facility, producing over 500 motorcycles and while still manufacturing bicycles.
5. In 1904 Hendee Manufacturing Company introduced the deep red color that would become Indian's trademark.
4. In 1906, the Hendee Manufacturing Company was still manufacturing bicycles at the Worthington Street location even though more than a thousand motorcycles were also produced at this small shop in 1905.
5. In 1910 the company had 3,000 agents and had set up assembly factories in Chicago and San Francisco. In 1911 they were manufacturing aircraft engines and selling motorcycles around the world, yet the 1912 sales catalog features two entire pages dedicated to the Motobike (bicycle).
6. The 1912 Model 91-T Indian Motobike was designed to resemble their successful motorcycles, equipped with an electric light, and dry cell batteries to fit in the pseudo gas tank. Even the Men’s Motobike, which didn’t have electrics, was styled with a skirted front fender and a rear wheel stand just like the current motorcycle models.
4. By 1916 the Hendee Manufacturing Company was aggressively advertising both men’s and women’s Indian bicycles in national magazines.
5. In 1913, over 32,000 motorcycles were produced. Hedstrom exits the company, and founder George Hendee leaves a few years later. Business misfortune and the lousy management of the financiers taking over the company nearly ruins it.
6. Between 1916-1922 the brand is focused on trying to substain its motorcycle devision, its unknown whether Hendee Mfg. Co. sub-contracted the production of their bicycles? All indicators suggest that Westfield made them (Indian frames are identical to the Racycle Motobike and the Columbia which are Westfield produced).
7. Oct. 26th 1923 the corporate name of Hendee Manufacturing Company was changed to Indian Motocycle Company. In the wake of the name change, Westfield became the official builder of the Indian bicycle.
Nice Indian bicycle ....love that front fender on it and tank!
Ace - That's really a beautiful bike you have there.
Fordsnake - Thanks very much for sharing your timeline of the Indian line - very interesting history.
Thanks Steve. I really enjoy bringing these old bones back to life. It will be treasured for many years and your welcome to come and visit any time. Thanks again!
Well, it was brought to my attention that I had introduced my above facts without substantiating or including any reference as to where I pulled the factoids from? This red (legitimate) flag appears to be waved by the Davis/Indian contingency...adamant that Westfield Pope had no involvement in manufacturing the Indian Motocycle? Therefore I’ve conceded and will go back and pull my facts and resubmit them…but in the mean time here’s a visual comparison between Westfield, Indian and Davis.
I am not certain but I believe only Westfield Pope offered the signature Double D sprocket? Were there other makers of the Double D crank and sprocket?
The lower bottom cross bar is another Westfield Motobike styling cue...I believe Davis offered the fluted or volcano attachment?
They look very similar in appearance?
Notice the geometry of the frames, Davis leans backwards, also the pitch in the top frame is shorter and shallower...not like the design of the Indian Motorcycle which the bicycle frame was designed to mimic.
As I have stated before I'm no expert...I'm a hobbyist that enjoys the forensics and the history of prewar bikes! I will go back and look for my sources, in the mean time perhaps the Davis/Indian contingency will share their findings on how they arrived that Davis built Indians?
The sprocket design (center hole) was called the "Columbia Double D". Some place I have the patent information on it. If I can find it I will post it here. It was an exclusive design by Pope/Westfield. Maybe a Google patents search will turn it up.
I guess that is the problem with providing absolute notated documentation for everything we have learned over the years. Finding where we put something.
AMEN! Brain is not what it used to be!
DD drive does seem complelling- what about the split crank/ artridge system for the bottom bracket. I had an nos chartrige from a shop and it had an old handwritten tag that said NEW DEPARTURE
Is there a date on this lit
just waking up and may have missed it.
Another way to tell if an Indian was made by Westfield, is to check the rear axle adjusters. They used the same one that were used on Columbia frames.
I think you're confusing the two: Hendee Indians and Indian Motocycle.
Early Hendee Indians had some very distinctive styling cues, i.e., the split bottom bracket, the unique coned cups.
There's seem to be a consensus Indian bicycles were outsourced at some period to another manufacturer...the question then becomes was it Davis or Westfield that built the Indian Motocycle?
Here's an interesting read...note the last comment and who posted it! http://www.thewheelmen.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2284
Westfield actually used both these style rear drop outs. My 1930 Westfield built Hartford has the style on the right. My 1927 Stutz motorbike & 1930 Columbia arch bar have the dropouts on the left.
I'm guessing you're asking about the Westfield "Flying Merkle" on the right? It's from a 1927 ad, here's a paraphrase of an article on the Racycle Crank Blog, Jan 31, 2009:
– Fred Fisk, wrote a brief history of the Miami Cycle Co for “The Wheelmen.” May 1989. Mr. Fisk’s article included a photograph of catalogs from Miami and Racycle from 1916 and 1918. There is some uncertainty about how late the Miami Cycle Co. produced the Racycle? Mr. Fisk suggested production ceased in 1924, but he did not cite his source for this conclusion. What is certain is that the Miami Cycle Co had given up by 1925. In that year, Westfield Manufacturing Co., makers of Columbia bicycles, published a catalog advertising “Racycle” bicycles built in their Springfield, Massachusetts, factory. I will leave it to others to research and report on the Westfield-built Racycles, but various sources suggest that Westfield used the Miami Cycle & Manufacturing Company names: Racycle, Miami, Hudson, and the Flying Merkel, from 1925 into the 1950s.
I did nothink I was counfusing them..
WHAT if my bike has the "diamond" head cups EDIT my bike came with diamond cups but " (I have stolen from other bikes in the past") edit split "HENDEE" bottom bracket and "WESTFIELD" dropouts?
the split bottom bracket +insert that is supposed to allow you to "remove without disturbing bearing ajustment- just imagine how much you woud have to pry open the frame to fit the crank arm through...
There are several examples of that particular build (diamond head cups, split bb and "WESTFIELD" dropouts)...I'm guessing it would be badged with the Hendee Mfg. Co Indian Head?
I have eluded there was a transitional period that happened when Hendee Mfg. Co (the cut-out Indian name badge) let go of their building reigns and allowed another manufacture (Westfield?) to produce the bike. What year did it occur? I haven't a clue...my research shows that after the exit of both George M. Hendee (founder) and Carl O. Hedström (co founder of the Indian Motorcycle), the company encountered a few business hiccups and floundered with the new management. I can only conjecture that the company was focusing their energy around the motorcycle division to ensure they remained the world largest Motorcycle manufacturer! There were too many imposing competitors encroaching their strong hold...again I can only speculate the bicycle division had fallen in the shadows of the Indian Motorcycle division and was no longer considered a big revenue maker?
A story that parallels this conjecture is the Miami Cycle Co. which produced the Racyle bicycle from 1896 to about the early 1920s. In 1911, The Flying Merkel was sold to the Miami Cycle and Manufacturing Company. Several years before buying the Merkel, the Miami Cycle Mfg. Co. built its own Racycle motorcycle, but they soon abandoned it in favor of the Merkel acquisition.
A review of the advertising from the early teens suggests that the Racycle company lost enthusiasm for its bicycle division, with virtually no advertising showcasing the bike. Instead the ads touted the virtues of the entire line of the Miami Cycle’s bicycles: Racycle, Miami, Hudson, and, surprisingly, the Flying Merkel! One can only speculate with minimum marketing of the Racycle...that the motorcycle business had taking the center stage from the bicycle line.
By 1925, Westfield Manufacturing had bought the Miami Cycle Co. and was using the Racycle names to sell their products!