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Re: Packard Bikes
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Leeedy
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Now... on to 1920 and Harley-Davidson Bicycles. And more clones–in more ways than one.

Just to show that the 1925 Packard bicycle made by Arnold, Schwinn & Company had more brethren... submitted for your approval is the Harley-Davidson 1920 bicycle model 220.

Yesss, Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company had a bicycle division and they indeed manufactured and sold bicycles starting with the 1917 model year. National Bicycle History Archive of America (NBHAA.com) has all of the original Harley-Davidson bicycle catalogues, advertisements and other items from the factory.

The sample catalogue page displayed here is from the 1920 prestige catalogue. It IS genuine. There was also a smaller sized fold-out catalogue that year. We have that one too. Both were printed on coated stock. However individual pages and folded catalogues on yellow parchment paper –and there are a lot around today claiming to be from 1920–are fakes. People displaying and selling these fakes usually won't admit it and will swear they are "originals." Not. But it is not just the H-D literature that is being faked to a huge degree. It is the bicycles themselves. Unfortunately, with H-D bicycles the fakes and repops are "off the chain" as the saying goes. More on this in a bit.

Meanwhile, the original H-D used bicycle hardware largely supplied to them by Davis Sewing Machine Company (ancestor company of today's Huffy bicycle brand in case you are wondering). All of which raises the question of who was copying who... and which of the many arch-bar frames running around in the 1920s was legal and legitimate? And which were not?

Since Iver Johnson Bicycles owned the U.S. Patent on this bicycle frame design, how was ASC able to use it to make Packard bicycles? How was Harley-Davidson able to do it and be legit?

While there are rumors that Iver Johnson licensed the design to a French bicycle maker, there don't seem to be indications of others with licensed usage. Perhaps. But then with Harley-Davidson using Davis, this would mean that both Davis AND H-D would have needed licenses... and things get very complicated, huh? That was then and this is now. So the situation today is a free-for-all frenzy that is out of control and nobody's piloting the airplane.

So... if you are surprised to learn about Harley-Davidson bicycles (the real ones), and wonder how the patented Iver-Johnson arch-bar frame turned up in so many places, there is more to the story.

Also be aware that probably most of the "vintage" (teens-20s) H-D bicycles that turn up today are fakes. Since repop headbadges and fake "H-D" chain sprockets were unleashed on the market years go, there has been an explosion of so-called vintage Harley-Davidson bicycles over the past 15 years or so. In some cases there may be more around today than ever survived natural attrition and the World War II scrap drives!

A very large percentage of Harley bicycles around today have been converted from existing old Davis hardware. And nobody ever confesses that their Harley bicycle is a fake. Every Harley-Davidson bicycle that shows up in an auction or museum these days (and there are a bunch of them) is always claimed to be "original." One even turned up not long ago on the cover of a magazine (the editor and photographer apparently not knowing any better than to feature a color photo of a bicycle with modern Philips-head screws attaching the headbadge– EEeeeek!). So if all these Harley-Davidson bicycles are genuine originals, who is buying all of the repopped fake headbadges and fake "H-D" chain sprockets all over the place? Good question. Don't take my word for it... look on eBay. And with production only running from 1917 to 1922, they didn't make a ginormous number of these bicycles. Finding one–even in the 1970s was rare. But today?

Anyway, don't be too impressed when a nice shiny Harley-Davidson bicycle turns up in an auction or on TV. And if you're wondering how and why the Harley-Davidson 1920s arch bar frames look like the Iver Johnson frames that look like the 1925 Schwinn-Built PACKARD bicycle... keep wondering...

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jpeg  HarleyDavidsonArchFrame1920WM.jpeg (5,483.40 KB)
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Posted on: 9/14 13:51
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Re: Packard Bikes
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Leeedy
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Now... moving on to 1939. A Pennsylvania store named "Schenk & Tittle" out of Harrisburg sold Packard AND Colson bicycles.

Here is an original advertisement from 1939 listing both Colson and Packard bicycles. Note that THESE Colsons and Packard bicycles were equipped with CHROME spokes rather than typical cad-plated ones. First class!

These days some people want to moosh both bicycles into one, but here is proof that retailers didn't see it that way. In the REAL world. A Colson bicycle was a Colson bicycle. A Colson-BUILT Packard bicycle was a Packard bicycle. Retailers back then understood it –why can't today's collectors?

Also note that the ad refers to "Packard Knee Action Bicycles." What was "knee action"? You don't know? Well...

The bicycle hobby and people in general have asmnesia about this history. And terminologies in both vintage cars and vintage bicycles have gone berserk since the 1970s. "Knee-action" was once both automotive and bicycle terminology in the USA. However today is the era of made-up terms that defy any existing legacy or tradition. And folks around today (including the "experts") seem to not know any better.

What were once generally understood terms (like "custom/customized"..."stock"... "modified" etc,) have been morphed, mooshed and purposely muddied by auction companies, magazines, fast-buck flippers, TV hosts and ultimately confused newbies parroting the new made-up terms back and forth to one another.

In cars, what was once considered a "restoration" is now a put-down. If you are doing a genuine restoration and returning a vehicle to the way it was when first made, you are now a "purist" rather than a restorer. And "purist" is now intended as some kind of insult. "Restoration" now has sadly degenerated down to what used to be a "refurbish." These days, a "restoration" is a shiny paint job, a modern crate engine stuffed under the hood and a set of big flashy wheels. REALLY? An "upgrade" used to mean something like going from clear glass to factory tinted glass ... or manual steering to factory power steering.

NOW... "upgrade" is considered changing a 1950s/1960s car from original drum brakes to DISC brakes (something Detroit didn't even offer until the 1970s). And a lot of the people doing such stuff will moan, "But it's saaaaaaaafer to have disc brakes in my 1958 Buick or my 1953 Packard!" Yes, well it's safer still to have anti-skid ABS brakes and traction control and air bags. Where does RESTORATION stop and CUSTOMIZING begin? And why is it that nobody today wants to admit that they CUSTOMIZED a vintage car instead of claiming they "restored it" or "upgraded it"? If you messed with your car and created something the factory never made, why not admit it and take credit for your "art"?

In the old days, doing such a thing as putting modern stuff on an old car would have been known as "CUSTOMIZING." Pure and simple. Clearly understood. No doublespeak. No mumbo-jumbo. No confusion at all about it. Like putting a 427 V-8 in a Model A Ford. To do such a thing was clearly understood as HOT-RODDING and CUSTOMIZING. But now? In an era when auctions and flippers want to hide that a car has been rodded, customized or otherwise modified and messed with, it's an "upgrade." For some born after the Apollo moon landing, all this silliness makes perfect sense–even if they don't understand what they are actually saying. Wow.

Anyway... in vintage American-made bicycles "knee-action" was a commonly understood generic term for front cushion spring forks. Sometime in the 1970s the term "springer" began to get shoved into the mix (heaven knows why). And the term "knee-action" was completely overwhelmed and eventually forgotten.

I still say "knee-action" but today's "experts" like those pickin' guys on TV and people who post on DIY web sites insist on calling knee-action by the term, "springer." As in, "Yeah, that old Schwinn has the cool springer fork!" This when even Schwinn called their own fork "knee-action" and never uttered the term, "springer." But today? Who cares? Ignore the original terms and even the original literature. Today? Ignore history. Defy legacy. Make up your own terminology and say whatever you please. It is what it is. And nobody says or does a thing to correct it. Maybe folks today are still hung up thinking about Jerry's TV show, huh?

So if you don't know what "knee action Packard bicycle was"... here's why.

By the way, if you scroll back in this thread you will also find a company out of Cinci, Ohio offering an aftermarket "Packard Knee-Action" (universal conversion spring fork) for bicycles. Again, proving that most people once knew what "knee-action" on a bicycle (and car) was –as incredible as this may seem today.

And again... no Packard automobiles mentioned as being sold with these Packard bicycles again. Awwwww. Where are all the folks who were arguing and raising stinks years ago saying "everybody knows they gave away Packard bicycles to sweeten deals on Packard cars!" Where are those folks who knew so much about Packard bicycles now? Hmmm?????

So who else shows you such stuff?

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jpg  PackardBicycles1939PAcopy.jpg (274.49 KB)
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Posted on: 10/5 12:38
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Re: Packard Bikes
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Leeedy
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Now remember what I told you (and showed you) about Packard bicycles equipped with "knee action"?

Remember what I said that it was once very common for people all over the USA to refer to a front suspension bicycle fork as "knee action"? And NOT "springer" –a term invented in more recent years?

The term, "knee action" may be unknown in today's term wilderness, but this was not a regional thing in the USA. Last post showing "knee action" bicycle reference was Pennsylvania. Previous mention of accessory "Packard Knee Action" kit was from Ohio. AND if you look back at Posting #100 in this thread you will note ORIGINAL Schwinn and B.F. Goodrich literature referred to "knee action spring fork..." and that was in the 1930s for all of the Schwinn worshippers down on their knees. Now we move north and west...

Here is a 1941 classified advertisement from Fremont, Nebraska. It abbreviates knee action as "knee ac" but people back then knew exactly what it meant. Would people today (including DIY and vintage bicycle "experts") be able to read this ad and know what it means? Heck no. Folks on TV and DIY web sites have everyone indoctrinated into speaking a different language –only people don't realize it.

Ohhh... and notice again... NO Packard automobile mentioned.

As always, this original ad image courtesy of National Bicycle History Archive of America (NBHAA.com) collection.

Attach file:



jpg  PackardBicycleClassifiedAdKneeActionAndFrtBrake1941Nebraska.jpg (75.71 KB)
1249_61719e23dd4eb.jpg 550X575 px

Posted on: 10/21 12:06
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Re: Packard Bikes
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Leeedy
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Let's jump backward from 1941 to 1939. Another ad for Packard bicycles from 1939 and Fremont, Nebraska. Even if folks today– including the "experts" insist on calling classic American bicycles with front suspension as "springers" nobody did in 1939.

The ad here on the right clearly refers to "Knee-action Packard bicycle" and if you're a loyal reader of this thread, you should know that this means!

And just to show that Packard bicycles were simply sold directly out of retail stores ands NOT with Packard automobiles, take a look at this classified advertisement.

(original 1939 ad image courtesy of National Bicycle History Archive of American ... NBHAA.com)

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jpg  PackardKeeActionBicyclesMorecopy.jpg (297.44 KB)
1249_6188212a2544f.jpg 1558X762 px

Posted on: 11/7 13:55
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Re: Packard Bikes
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Leeedy
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Now let's move to Philadelphia and the year, 1913. Were there Packard bicycles? Of course there were Packard bicycles! Take a look at this retail store advertisement!

And read the wonderful praise of the two-wheelers. But.... awwww shucks... no mention of the car. And no mention of a "sweetened deal" on a new Packard. So... WHO started these stories??? And why?

I've taken you from one end of the country to the other... over many states and many years. And we'll continue...

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png  PackardBicycle1913PihllyWM.png (1,005.62 KB)
1249_61ad71ae80c69.png 726X1490 px

Posted on: Today 21:18
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