A Brief History of
     Indian
   Motocycles

  Will Boutelle,
       M.D.

   Springfield
   Museums

  May 8, 2008
References
!   A Century of Indian. Youngblood, Ed (2001).
!   Indian Motorcycle Photo History. Hatfield,
    Jerry (1993)...
Springfield, Massachusetts
! Manufacturing   hub from mid-
  19th century
! Large pool of skilled labor,
  plentiful power...
1893 Duryea, Springfield Mass.
DURYEA
1893 - Brothers Charles & Frank built first car
1895 - Second car, won 1st auto race in USA
       (50 miles roundt...
Late-Model Duryea
Knox Automobile 1900-1914
KNOX AUTOMOBILE
Built:
   ! Cars
   ! Trucks
   ! Tractors
   ! Fire engines
      quot; Using Knox engines, Springfield
 ...
Springfield Rolls Royce
George Hendee, 1884
Oscar Hedstrom Pacer, 1899
INDIAN PRODUCTION FIGURES
1901   3
1902   143
1903   376
1904   ?
1905   1000+
1908   3000+
1910   6000+
1913   32000+
191...
Indian #268 (early 1903).
With engine and gas tank, it’s a bicycle!
From 1906 Indian catalogue, showing various
products: Tandem, triplet, tri-car, tricycle and van
1907: First cataloged twin cylinder Indian.
     42 degree angle between front and rear
     cylinder. All Indian twins th...
1909 Loop Frame
     - No longer a bicycle with a motor
Steering head of 1909 Indian single.
Note U-joint controls for gas and spark.
• Indian always concentrated on police business.
Pictured below is a 1910 two-man patrol V-twin
in Cincinnati.
• NYPD plac...
Indian Factories
1911 Isle of Man
TT Race (Britain)
! Indian came in
 1st, 2nd, and 3rd
 place
Board track racing
Los Angeles 1912
1/3 mile tack, 90 mph
Eddie Hasha with “big base” 8-valve twin, Sept.
1912, on steeply banked board track.
Photo taken just before an accident k...
1912 Indian with “Colonial sidecar”
         made of wicker
1914 Indian with Indian sidecar
1913 Indian twin with spring frame
Major Innovation, but nobody else followed
Note early “buddy seat” hanging off the back
Ford Model T:
• Hauled five people
• Kept you dry with top up
• Got cheaper to buy every year
• Killed market for motorcyc...
Oscar Hedstrom, Indian’s engineering father,
retires at age 42 in 1913
Oscar Hedstrom, circa 1913
Hendee Special
• Electric Starting, but no generator
Pancho Villa
               • It’s hard to
               understand why he
               needed electric
               ...
George Hendee Leaves Indian in 1915.
Now both the founders are gone.
Gun Car, 1915
marketed to British army
1919 spring-frame military Indian.
Note gas lamp and brass levers.
1917 Model O
      • First Indian Attempt at a lightweight twin
      Cylinders opposed, front and aft
      • Harley ride...
Erwin “Cannonball” Baker
• Not too bright, but he could stay awake for days
                     May 1914: San Diego/New Y...
Publicity photo of Baker on Indian
Great Motorcycles,
bad business
Scout, 1921
Starting to look like modern motorcycle
Scout primary drive -- helical gears in oil bath.




   Led to the chant,“You can’t
   wear out an Indian Scout”
1923 Chief
• First 74 cubic inch motor
1922 Chief with sidecar
Orie Steele
• Pre-eminent hill climber with trophies, on 1924
Scout
1925 Indian Prince
• 2nd attempt at lightweight motorcycle
1926 souped up overhead valve Prince
(Still didn’t sell)
Typical small-town Indian agency of 1920’s
• Dealer and wife in front of showroom
Lineage of the future Indian Four Motocycle

Will Henderson, designer of:
• Henderson, 1912-1917
• Ace 1922-1926
• Indian ...
1912 Henderson
• First year of manufacturing
• First motorcycle to drive around the world
(driven by C.S. Clancy)
Mr. & Mrs. Will Henderson on 1912 Henderson
1917 Henderson
• Company sold to Schwinn Dec, 1917
• Will and Tom Henderson kept on as
consultants, but Will soon left to ...
Ace   Designed by W. Henderson

               Sept. 1922: Cannonball
               Baker rode Ace LA-NY (3332
          ...
1927 Indian Ace
Indian Car
Silver
 Arrow
Outboard
 Motor
Non-motorcycle products fail
1930-1939
Du Pont to the Rescue
Du Pont Letter, 1930
1930 Hillclimber
1932 Scout Pony
1936 Chief (restored 2005)
1936 Chief

view from
  saddle
1938 Four Cylinder
• restored 1999
1938 Four Cylinder
1939 Traffic car
1941 Military Model 841
Sport Scout, 1941
1941 Chief
1941 Four Cylinder
1947 Chief and Sidecar
                  !   Owned by Jim
                      Seidell

                  !   3 miles fro...
1947 Chief and wife
• chief restored 1998
• wife in original unrestored condition)
Indian’s
  Last
Mistake
1949 Scout
1949 Scout engine
            • Poorly engineered
            • Poorly tested
            • Bad electrics
            • No...
When engineering fails, turn to PR


                           • Erwin “Cannonball”
                             Baker (w...
When engineering fails, turn to PR (Part 2)


                         !   Jane Russell
                             prese...
When engineering fails, turn to PR (Part 3)

                            !   Vaughn Monroe
                               ...
1950 Chief
             • Same stroke, but bored
               out to 80 cubic inches

             • Plunger fork 1950-’...
Indian Factory 1952-53




!   Assembling the last Indians
!   Indian name about to be sold to distributors of English
   ...
1947 and 1905 Indians




        Not the first and not the last,
     but quite a transition over 42 years
Last of the Breed
                    !   Indian Factory
                        1953
                    !   Last non-pol...
1953
Indian Factory (1981)

                 !   Indian long gone

                 !   Crime-ridden
                     neigh...
Interior of Indian Factory, 1981




Building is now used as an apartment building
Indian Factory, 1984




!   Large parts of the original factory were demolished
!   What remains has been renovated for h...
Now What ???
European Indian Rally
Scotland, 1994
Indian Racing Team
Daytona Beach, Florida
Esta Manthos Collection of Antique Motorcycles
  given to Springfield Museums in June 2007
Last “Indian Day” July 2005




     Esta Manthos presenting Oscar Hedstrom
   “Best of Show” trophy to Will Boutelle, MD
...
Proposed Museum of Springfield History
Questions
A Brief History of Indian Motorcycles
A Brief History of Indian Motorcycles
A Brief History of Indian Motorcycles
A Brief History of Indian Motorcycles
A Brief History of Indian Motorcycles
A Brief History of Indian Motorcycles
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A Brief History of Indian Motorcycles

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A history of the Indian Motorcycle company, which for a time was the dominant American motorcycle manufacturer.

Published in: Sports, Business, Automotive
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  • Fantastic slideshow on the history of these motorcycles. The imagination, creativity and determination to produce these cycles is evident. Especially the use of wicker on a cycle! See some other uses of wicker at http://wickerfurnituresite.com
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  • Great slideshow, Dad!
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A Brief History of Indian Motorcycles

  1. 1. A Brief History of Indian Motocycles Will Boutelle, M.D. Springfield Museums May 8, 2008
  2. 2. References ! A Century of Indian. Youngblood, Ed (2001). ! Indian Motorcycle Photo History. Hatfield, Jerry (1993). ! Golden Age of the Fours. Hodgdon, Ted (1974). ! Classic Indian Motorcycle Carroll, John (no date) ! Hendersons, Those Elegant Machines. Schultz, Richard (1994).
  3. 3. Springfield, Massachusetts ! Manufacturing hub from mid- 19th century ! Large pool of skilled labor, plentiful power, and available capital ! At least three cars (Duryea, Knox and Rolls Royce), bicycles and motorcycles
  4. 4. 1893 Duryea, Springfield Mass.
  5. 5. DURYEA 1893 - Brothers Charles & Frank built first car 1895 - Second car, won 1st auto race in USA (50 miles roundtrip Chicago-Evanston) 1896 - First production run (13 units) - First auto accident (NYC, Henry Wells hit bicyclist in his Duryea, went to jail overnight) Manufactured at least until 1913 in IL, NJ, and PA
  6. 6. Late-Model Duryea
  7. 7. Knox Automobile 1900-1914
  8. 8. KNOX AUTOMOBILE Built: ! Cars ! Trucks ! Tractors ! Fire engines quot; Using Knox engines, Springfield became first mechanized fire dept. in the United States
  9. 9. Springfield Rolls Royce
  10. 10. George Hendee, 1884
  11. 11. Oscar Hedstrom Pacer, 1899
  12. 12. INDIAN PRODUCTION FIGURES 1901 3 1902 143 1903 376 1904 ? 1905 1000+ 1908 3000+ 1910 6000+ 1913 32000+ 1914 25000 1915 21000
  13. 13. Indian #268 (early 1903). With engine and gas tank, it’s a bicycle!
  14. 14. From 1906 Indian catalogue, showing various products: Tandem, triplet, tri-car, tricycle and van
  15. 15. 1907: First cataloged twin cylinder Indian. 42 degree angle between front and rear cylinder. All Indian twins through the end retained this angle
  16. 16. 1909 Loop Frame - No longer a bicycle with a motor
  17. 17. Steering head of 1909 Indian single. Note U-joint controls for gas and spark.
  18. 18. • Indian always concentrated on police business. Pictured below is a 1910 two-man patrol V-twin in Cincinnati. • NYPD placed their first order in 1903.
  19. 19. Indian Factories
  20. 20. 1911 Isle of Man TT Race (Britain) ! Indian came in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place
  21. 21. Board track racing Los Angeles 1912 1/3 mile tack, 90 mph
  22. 22. Eddie Hasha with “big base” 8-valve twin, Sept. 1912, on steeply banked board track. Photo taken just before an accident killed him, another racer and six spectators in Newark, NJ This was the only time that Motorcycle racing ever made the front page of the NY Times
  23. 23. 1912 Indian with “Colonial sidecar” made of wicker
  24. 24. 1914 Indian with Indian sidecar
  25. 25. 1913 Indian twin with spring frame Major Innovation, but nobody else followed Note early “buddy seat” hanging off the back
  26. 26. Ford Model T: • Hauled five people • Kept you dry with top up • Got cheaper to buy every year • Killed market for motorcycle as cheap transportation
  27. 27. Oscar Hedstrom, Indian’s engineering father, retires at age 42 in 1913
  28. 28. Oscar Hedstrom, circa 1913
  29. 29. Hendee Special • Electric Starting, but no generator
  30. 30. Pancho Villa • It’s hard to understand why he needed electric starting, with no place to charge his batteries for miles around. • Two years later, he was being chased by General John J. Pershing
  31. 31. George Hendee Leaves Indian in 1915. Now both the founders are gone.
  32. 32. Gun Car, 1915 marketed to British army
  33. 33. 1919 spring-frame military Indian. Note gas lamp and brass levers.
  34. 34. 1917 Model O • First Indian Attempt at a lightweight twin Cylinders opposed, front and aft • Harley riders called it the “Model Zero” due to its low power
  35. 35. Erwin “Cannonball” Baker • Not too bright, but he could stay awake for days May 1914: San Diego/New York 11 days, 12 hrs, 10 min August 1915: Canada/Mexico 3 days, 9 hrs, 15 min 1917: 24-hr. record:1534.25 miles All on Indians
  36. 36. Publicity photo of Baker on Indian
  37. 37. Great Motorcycles, bad business
  38. 38. Scout, 1921 Starting to look like modern motorcycle
  39. 39. Scout primary drive -- helical gears in oil bath. Led to the chant,“You can’t wear out an Indian Scout”
  40. 40. 1923 Chief • First 74 cubic inch motor
  41. 41. 1922 Chief with sidecar
  42. 42. Orie Steele • Pre-eminent hill climber with trophies, on 1924 Scout
  43. 43. 1925 Indian Prince • 2nd attempt at lightweight motorcycle
  44. 44. 1926 souped up overhead valve Prince (Still didn’t sell)
  45. 45. Typical small-town Indian agency of 1920’s • Dealer and wife in front of showroom
  46. 46. Lineage of the future Indian Four Motocycle Will Henderson, designer of: • Henderson, 1912-1917 • Ace 1922-1926 • Indian bought out Ace after bankruptcy
  47. 47. 1912 Henderson • First year of manufacturing • First motorcycle to drive around the world (driven by C.S. Clancy)
  48. 48. Mr. & Mrs. Will Henderson on 1912 Henderson
  49. 49. 1917 Henderson • Company sold to Schwinn Dec, 1917 • Will and Tom Henderson kept on as consultants, but Will soon left to start Ace Motorcycle Company
  50. 50. Ace Designed by W. Henderson Sept. 1922: Cannonball Baker rode Ace LA-NY (3332 miles) in 6 days, 22 hours and 52 minutes “World’s Fastest Motorcycle” 129 mph solo, 106 mph with sidecar Will Henderson Killed Dec. 1922, while testing the new Ace on city streets
  51. 51. 1927 Indian Ace
  52. 52. Indian Car
  53. 53. Silver Arrow Outboard Motor
  54. 54. Non-motorcycle products fail
  55. 55. 1930-1939 Du Pont to the Rescue
  56. 56. Du Pont Letter, 1930
  57. 57. 1930 Hillclimber
  58. 58. 1932 Scout Pony
  59. 59. 1936 Chief (restored 2005)
  60. 60. 1936 Chief view from saddle
  61. 61. 1938 Four Cylinder • restored 1999
  62. 62. 1938 Four Cylinder
  63. 63. 1939 Traffic car
  64. 64. 1941 Military Model 841
  65. 65. Sport Scout, 1941
  66. 66. 1941 Chief
  67. 67. 1941 Four Cylinder
  68. 68. 1947 Chief and Sidecar ! Owned by Jim Seidell ! 3 miles from Chesterfield Center ! Jim owns several other Indians
  69. 69. 1947 Chief and wife • chief restored 1998 • wife in original unrestored condition)
  70. 70. Indian’s Last Mistake
  71. 71. 1949 Scout
  72. 72. 1949 Scout engine • Poorly engineered • Poorly tested • Bad electrics • Not a V-twin • Dealers can’t sell them • Dealers give up and turn to Harley
  73. 73. When engineering fails, turn to PR • Erwin “Cannonball” Baker (who won his first race in 1909), pulled out of retirement to tout the vertical twin Indian. 1948 • We don’t know who the “Motorcycle Queen” was
  74. 74. When engineering fails, turn to PR (Part 2) ! Jane Russell presented with her own Indian Vertical Twin, 1948 ! No one knows whether she ever rode it
  75. 75. When engineering fails, turn to PR (Part 3) ! Vaughn Monroe (who actually rode motorcycles) brought in for photo on Indian ! Not recorded as to how many Indians he was given
  76. 76. 1950 Chief • Same stroke, but bored out to 80 cubic inches • Plunger fork 1950-’53 • Except for fork, bored cylinder and minor engine & body changes, basically the same as 1948 Chief • The dealers had all gone over to Harley
  77. 77. Indian Factory 1952-53 ! Assembling the last Indians ! Indian name about to be sold to distributors of English motorcycles ! Dealers not told of production termination
  78. 78. 1947 and 1905 Indians Not the first and not the last, but quite a transition over 42 years
  79. 79. Last of the Breed ! Indian Factory 1953 ! Last non-police bikes built ! The very last of 1953 production went to the NYPD who had placed their first order for Indians in 1903
  80. 80. 1953
  81. 81. Indian Factory (1981) ! Indian long gone ! Crime-ridden neighborhood ! George Hendee’s office windows in large arch on corner
  82. 82. Interior of Indian Factory, 1981 Building is now used as an apartment building
  83. 83. Indian Factory, 1984 ! Large parts of the original factory were demolished ! What remains has been renovated for housing
  84. 84. Now What ???
  85. 85. European Indian Rally Scotland, 1994
  86. 86. Indian Racing Team Daytona Beach, Florida
  87. 87. Esta Manthos Collection of Antique Motorcycles given to Springfield Museums in June 2007
  88. 88. Last “Indian Day” July 2005 Esta Manthos presenting Oscar Hedstrom “Best of Show” trophy to Will Boutelle, MD for 1938 Indian Four Cylinder
  89. 89. Proposed Museum of Springfield History
  90. 90. Questions
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