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The Indian Collection at the Wood Museum

The Springfield Motorcycle Show is proud to announce that the Wood Museum of Springfield History will be participating this year’s Show.  Come down to the show and see some historic bikes, browse their vintage-style merchandise, and learn more about Indian’s proud history in Springfield.

Once you get a taste of Springfield’s rich motorcycle history, you’ll want to plan a trip down to the Wood Museum of Springfield History and see all of the historic bikes on display at the museum.


The Indian Motorcycle Collection

 motorcycle history

This amazing display showcases a great period in motorcycle history.


Indian Motorcycle


The Indian Motorcycle was the country's first motorcycle. It was created in 1900 by two men who were both engineers and bike enthusiasts. Their partnership formed the Hendee Manufacturing Company, named after George Hendee, who was a bicycle racer at the time.

The Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company was a motorcycle manufacturer in Springfield, Massachusetts. Indian is America's oldest motorcycle brand and was once the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world. The most popular models were the Scout, made prior to WWII, and the Chief, which had its heyday from 1922-53



Indian Military Bike


In 1904, Indian motorcycles won a gold medal for mechanical excellence at the St. Louis Exposition, the only motorcycle to win such a medal. By 1914, the Indian motorcycle had become a common and very recognizable name. Their factory was known as "the wigwam", and people all over the country were vying for their very own motorcycles. But the development of motor vehicles by Henry Ford was fast becoming stiff competition for the company. Over the next decade, the Indian Motorcycle Company began developing better engines, new models, and fast bikes to encourage the public's support.



Indian trike


Once the Great Depression struck, many different industries suffered a great deal of financial loss. The Indian Motorcycle Company almost went bankrupt, but a man by the name of E. Paul DuPont took over the company and saved it from complete ruin.

Mr. DuPont’s ideas brought new colors and designs to the bikes, increasing sales and production. This was largely influenced by the art deco movement at the time. By the time 1953 arrived, Indian motorcycles' profits and production had gone down in numbers. Some police forces opted to use them for their motorcycle police fleets, but in general the company had taken some very significant losses.


The Indian Motorcycle Display


Over the course of the next 40 years or so, the Indian motorcycle name had all but vanished until 1999, when the company merged with other manufacturers, and its Chief model came back onto the production lines. Today, Indian motorcycles are still a popular choice for the bike enthusiast, and have become synonymous with good, quality motorcycles.

We were privileged to have the folks from the Wood Museum of Springfield History with us at the show.




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