Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Indian Motocycle Logo #2
As depicted on the billhead, the logo is taken from the 1912 Indian Motocycle Catalog. I found this via my brother-in-law Tom-Tom Benson. He pointed me to a site called the Vintage Motorcyle Library, and the catalog is listed as one of the Indian related items that can be purchased on the site.
From the Indian Chief Motorcycle site: The original Indian motorcycle company was founded in 1901 in Springfield Massachusetts USA, by bicycle racer George Hendee and Swedish immigrant Oscar Hedstrom. Some people wonder why it was called the Indian Motocycle Company instead of Indian Motorcycle Company. In Italy, all motorcycles have names beginning with "moto" e.g. Moto-Guzzi, Moto-Ducati, Moto-Laverda, so perhaps Hedstrom was familiar with that. The earliest models looked like mopeds (bicycles with small single cylinder engines) and only 3 were made in 1901. Interestingly, Triumph began production the next year (1902) and Harley-Davidson the year after (1903). So the order was Indian, Triumph, Harley. Indian made 143 motorcycles in 1902.
The "Big Three" are no longer still around. The Indian was produced in the United States through 1953, but is no more.
Although it says on the logo that they have been built since 1901, what it fails to mention is that the Indian Motocycle was THE FIRST motorcycle produced in America.
I purchased two more pieces of this same paper in March and I still intend to put an Indian 4 on a piece of this paper, even if it really isn't historically accurate. The Indian 4 was first available in 1928 to Indian riders.
Michael Curnow opened a bicycle shop in Butte, Montana, at 205 South Montana Street in late 1908. I know that because the 1908 Polk's City Directory for Butte has no listing for him, whereas the 1909 directory does have a single line listing for him. In 1911 he became the Indian Motocycle dealer, and by 1913 he must have had a fairly decent business because he purchased a quarter page advertisement in the directory. I would dearly love to find a photograph of him, but so far I've come up empty.
This piece will soon be on its way out the door, as someone who saw the first piece that I did (which was pictured in the 2011 Western Heritage Artists Show program) asked me to do another.