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“The need of the Army for motorcycles, side cars, and bicycles was so tremendous that for many months during the war practically the entire output of these vehicles of the kinds selected as being most suitable for Army use was taken by the Government.

It was found that the Indian and Harley-Davidson motorcycles were best adapted to meet the necessities of the Expeditionary Forces in France, and these types were standardized for overseas shipment.  Orders for a total of 39,070 Indian motorcycles were placed with the manufacturers at Springfield, Mass., and before the end of 1918, 18,081 of these had been delivered.  From the Harley-Davidson manufacturers at Milwaukee, Wis., the Government received 14,666 machines of the total of 26,487 ordered before the end of 1918.  In addition to the Harley-Davidson and Indian machines, 1,526 Cleveland motorcycles, made in Cleveland, Ohio, were contracted for, and 1,476 delivered previous to 1919.

Side-car equipment for the Indian and Harley-Davidson machines was bought in almost as great quantities as the motorcycles themselves.  In fact, the demand for motorcycles and side cars from these two concerns was so great that they were working at 100-per-cent capacity for the Government before the summer of 1918.

The needs of the Army for machines increased so steadily and the requirements were so vast that both the Indian and Harley-Davidson concerns had made large additions to their plants for meeting the Government needs at the time the armistice was signed.

A standard military bicycle was turned out for the Army by the Westfield Manufacturing Co., at Westfield, Mass., and other bicycles were ordered from the Great Western Manufacturing Co., at Laporte, Ind., and the Davis Sewing Machine Co., at Dayton, Ohio.”

In addition to the vast number of bicycles, motorcycles, and side cars the Army also ordered so many horse-drawn wagons that within one year of production all the air-dried lumber in the country had been exhausted necessitating the building of facilities for kiln drying newly cut lumber.  R. V. Board of the Kentucky Wagon Co.; A. B. Thilens of the Studebaker Corporation of America; E. E. Parsonage of the John Deere Wagon Co.; and R. W. Lea of the Moline Plow Co., were named members of an advisory committee to assist the Army in the procurement of such vehicles.

The first requisition for wagons was for 34,000 escort wagons.  Orders came a little later for drinking-water carts and wagons, medical and ration carts, combat wagons, veterinary ambulances, sprinkling wagons, and various other types of special needs vehicles.  Companies called upon to produce the wagons included Bain Wagon Co., Oshkosh, Wis., Columbia Wagon Co., Colungia, PA; Deere & Co., Moline, Ill.; Emerson-Brantingham Co., Rockford, Ill.; Florence Wagon Co., Florence, Ala.; Hackney Wagon Co., Wilson, N.C.; International Harvester Co., Memphis, Tenn.; Moline Plow Co., Moline, Ill.; Mogul Wagon Co., Hoskinsville, Ky.; Owensboro Wagon Co., Owensboro, Ky.; Pekin Wagon Co., Pekin, Ill.; Peter Schuttler Co., Chicago, Ill.; Springfield Wagon Co., Springfield, Mo.; Stroughton Wagon Co., Stoughton, Wis.; A. Streich & Bros. Co., Oshkosh, Wis.; Thornhill Wagon Co., Lynchburg, Va.; Tiffin Wagon Co., Tiffin, Ohio; Eagle Wagon Works, Auburn, N.Y.; A. A. Cooper Wagon & Buggy Co., Dubuque, Iowa; Winona Wagon Co., Winona, Minn.; White Hickory Wagon Co., Atlanta, Ga.; Kentucky Wagon Co., Louisville, Ky.; Studebaker Corporation, South Bend, Ind.; American Car & Foundry Co., Jeffersonville, Ind. –  Source:  “American Munitions 1917-1918”.  U.S. War Dept.  1919.

© Vickie (Rumble) Brady, vrumblesramblingbikerblog.com

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