Picture Of The Week. The Way It Was.

indianpicIn this 1921 photo, a group of riders poses with their Indian Motorcycles at Keegan, Mattern & Gaffney in Watertown, NY. The store was dealing in motor supplies and sporting goods with no motorcycles to look at on display. So, riders ordered their Indian motorcycles through this store but had to travel to the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company in Springfield, Massachusetts to pick them up, then had to ride them back home. The “dealer” opened in 1919 and went into bankruptcy in 1921.

17 Responses to “Picture Of The Week. The Way It Was.”

  1. 1 Iron Horse Dec 27th, 2015 at 9:43 am

    WOW…a gun shop in New York City. Who’d a thunk it?

    Personally, I think it would be very cool to get to pick my new bike up from right where it was made. A little inconvenient maybe, but still pretty cool.

  2. 2 Brandon Dec 27th, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Love these old pics.

  3. 3 Dana Dec 27th, 2015 at 11:49 am

    In the early 1900s, my wife’s Grand Dad had a Yale, a Metz & Marsh, a Flying Merkel and a Harley-Davidson. I’ve got some pics if there is a way to post them in this website.

  4. 4 Dana Dec 27th, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    now I remember after seeing this post! I have the photos ready to send you!

  5. 5 Roadkill Dec 28th, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Watertown is ~350 miles northwest of NYC, Iron Horse, nearby to Lake Ontario and the Thousand Islands… RK

  6. 6 Nat Yutzman Dec 28th, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Yeah, and N.J. is a suburb of New Yawk City!

  7. 7 nicker Dec 29th, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Would love to see a close-up of those guys…..
    Certainly not the “push-button-go” crowd.
    It took rugged individuals with a can-do attitude to be a participant.
    They set the bar high for those who followed.
    Do we measure up to their standards….. ???


  8. 8 Blackmax Dec 30th, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    The way it SHOULD be !!!
    Old School, Luv it !!!!

  9. 9 Woody's Dec 30th, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    How do we know they don’t all drive Hupmobiles during the week and only ride 3 miles to Keegan, Mattern & Gaffney on Saturday morning for free coffee at the parts counter? Seriously, they don’t appear any different than riders today depending on how you look at it.

  10. 10 nicker Jan 2nd, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    “…they don’t appear any different than riders today…”

    Well, since its not a close-up its hard to say without seeing their hands.
    But its safe to say they don’t have cell-phones to call for help, so they had to be capable enough to manage their machinery on their own, if they intended to actually go places.

    And from here those machines look used…. 🙂


  11. 11 Woody's Jan 4th, 2016 at 9:47 am

    I can’t help there weren’t cellphones then, but I don’t see anything else to make me assume they’re any more “real riders” than you or I or many others. In that part of the country it’s very probable they had/used cars or trucks in the winter time as they regularly get over 100″ of snow annually. At a time where few households had two vehicles, would that make them the RUBs of their day? Seriously, they don’t look any different than most folks I’ve ridden with, and I have hundreds of thousands of miles under my seats, but my dirty bikes always look good from that distance when photographed.

  12. 12 mr dick Jan 4th, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Bikes and guns under one roof. That place would have gotten at least half of my $. Sweet.

  13. 13 nicker Jan 6th, 2016 at 12:23 am

    “…assume they’re any more “real riders” than you or I…”

    Read what i said again.
    No mention of “real riders” or cars they might have owned…
    (sounds a little defensive on your part)

    If you’ve been around as long as some you’ll know exactly what those bikes were capable of and how much “encouragement” they required on a long run, on roads that were less than what the average rider experiences today. So without the luxury of calling road-service for help i simply suggested that these guys had to be “capable” enough to do manage all their that the road had to dish out.

    “Real riders” is your term….. what ever that means.
    I’ve been talking “capability”…. most of us understand what that means.

    The point is simply this. The legacy of motorcycling, that which differentiated us from the average citizen, was the level of competence necessity to take on the challenges of the open road. Hell, the simple reality of those tires that you had to be able to peel off the rim and patch yourself should calibrate the issue.

    Its really that simple.

    to so many of today’s motorchclists who simply know nothing about their rides beyond where to add gas


  14. 14 Woody's Jan 6th, 2016 at 9:37 am

    sorry nicker, but re-reading your comments still doesn’t shake the feeling you’re taking an innocent photograph and for no real reason making a bunch of assumptions not based on anything remotely proveable. There was a time when we all kicked our bikes and carried a set of tire irons to patch inner tubes, but it wasn’t because we were special, it was because that was the state of the industry. Doubt if any of those guys wanted to crank their cars with an actual crank after the starter became standard equipment any more than I’d give up my tubeless tires. Using your logic I suppose we could make fun of those guys for being soft because they didn’t kill, skin and tan something to get the leather for their boots ☺ Just yanking your chain a little because your comments this time sounded more like the old man yelling, “get off my lawn” and telling us how he walked barefoot in the snow to school each day, uphill both ways.

  15. 15 nicker Jan 6th, 2016 at 4:17 pm


    “…sounded more like the old man yelling, ‘get off my lawn’ …”

    Oh yes, that’s certainly part of it. And while the snow wasn’t necessarily a part of it, the tire fixing was… even in the early 50’s. But no one in their right mind wanted to patch tires out on the road or have to brush off a dirty thrown chain to replace a lost master-link with the one kept on your clutch cable.

    You misunderstand, those things and more simply had to be done out of necessity. You had to be able to handle them in order to be a participant. Being able to do that separated us from the crowd. And no truthful person would deny a certain sense of accomplishment, not superiority, but “exclusivity” was all part & parcel of the experience. Take a good look at the faces of those guys in the picture and tell me they don’t cray themselves with a certain “bearing.”

    In that sense we were special. When i was a kid the high school parking lot was filled with cars, not motorcycles for that simple reason, we relished the challenges (and we could where others couldn’t).

    As you point out, technology (and Honda) made motorcycling much “easier.” That dynamic changed everything. Mainly that “ability to pay” replaced the “ability to do.” Don’t misunderstand, those who make a living building bikes have my sympathy. You have every right to market to any legal opportunity.

    As i see it, the real question your asking is “why should i care?” Well, that’s very simple. As some one once said, “…your identified by the group with which you are associated…” and so about 1976 it seemed pointless to build another custom bike because the people cumming in were obviously less interested in motorcycles and more into “me too.”

    Many older “enthusiasts” find no cache in contemporary TV-biker imagery.. And so, le-me suggest it’s less a matter of ….. “Get off my lawn” than it is…… “look what you’ve done to the grass, ass hole.”…….. 🙂

    I simply hope that today’s scooter jockeys look at those old pics and ask themselves what is their legacy? What have i accomplished…? What else can i learn…???

    It might at least help stamp out stupid yammering “suicide shift”….. 🙂

  16. 16 Woody's Jan 6th, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    @nicker I come from the same place, just a little later (got my first bike in 1972 and had to hide it in a friend’s garage for a few months between rides until I could ride legal. That said, I don’t think asking “today’s scooter jockeys ” if they measure up will encourage self inspection, and I don’t care. If someone thinks they’re cool, why tell ’em you don’t think so? Just smile and wave, boys, smile and wave. ☺

  17. 17 nicker Jan 6th, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    Appears we’re not that far apart. How others ” think they look” is of little consequence. On the other hand how they “act” reflects on the rest of us in a big way. For example, the laws that increasingly clamp down on riders. The raising insurance rates resulting from incompetent operation…. etc.

    Le-me leave ya with this thought; At one time it was quite acceptable to put on a resume that your hobby was hand building custom motorcycles. People with such skills were seen as “technically accomplished”….. Today that only conjures up images of mnemonics and clownish behavior.

    As i see it, even if ya can get just a handfull to think before they start acting like clowns, its well worth the effort.

    Keep the rubber on the road my friend…. 🙂


Comments are currently closed.