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The development and adoption of motorcycles and motorcycle riding in the United States represents a significant social and cultural movement. The pleasure and utility of the motorcycle have become an accepted part of American life. Additionally, the contributions of the motorcycle industry to engine and vehicle design are noteworthy. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
|1869||An article reviews the history of the “velocipede” (self-propelled, wheeled vehicles).|
|Mid 1890s||Races and endurance tests of vehicles called “motorcycles” begin to take place.|
|1901||Hendee Manufacturing Company begins building Indian Motorcycles in Springfield, MA.|
|1903||Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company founded in Milwaukee, WI.|
|1903-1904||The Federation of American Motorcyclists is organized to promote the interests of motorcyclists & organize competitions.|
|1904-1905||Police departments begin to organize motorcycle units.|
|1910||Exhibitions are promoting and popularizing motorcycles.|
|1910-1915||Motorcycles are gaining acceptance as an economical means to accomplish many tasks.|
|1917||Motorcycles have a role in the US Army during WWI.|
|1920||Leslie “Red” Parkhurst sets 23 motorcycle speed records on a Harley-Davidson racing bike.|
|June 1921||Modern motorcycles are an established part of American culture.|