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This Indian Sales agency in Washington, DC, was operated Herb Reiber who enjoyed a long career in the motorcycle business that began in the twenties, and continued on to the mid-sixties. He first worked for Harley-Davidson as: a service instructor, a rider on the factory hill climb team, and was part of Harley-Davidson’s racing department. He was also instrumental in the building of the 45 CI, V-twin, twin-cam, overhead-valve engine that was campaigned in 1928 on the hill climb circuit.
Later Reiber ran the Indian Motorcycle dealership pictured here, and also handled several other machines built by British makers, including the Vincent, A-J-S, and the Matchless. The photos are courtesy of Art Lumsden and he believes the top image was taken in 1953 and shows the new Indians used by the Park Police to lead the Eisenhower inauguration. The combination showroom and parts department in the late-forties can be seen below. You can visit with the Antique Motorcycle Club of America here. 100s more motorcycle photos can be found here on The Old Motor.
Many younger drivers today barely know what a road map is, so accustomed are they to GPS navigation systems. A time when roads and highways were devoid of even the most basic markings is probably well beyond their imaginings. In those earliest days, intercity travel was the exclusive domain of the railroads. An automobilist had to be a brave and hardy soul to venture very far from town on the poorly marked and undeveloped roads of the day. An article we found in the February, 1907 issue of Good Roads Magazine called not only for improved highways, but made the case that adequate signage was second only to those very necessary upgrades.
In 1905, Homer Sargent Michaels, an automobile agent based in Chicago, developed a clever solution to the problem. He took photographs of every major intersection along a given route and published the results in some very useful books. In New England, the Automobile Green Book issued by the Automobile Legal Association provided road maps and directions to keep the motorist on his desired route. But these efforts were not practical as the number of motorists and cars exploded in the ‘teens and twenties.
It was the pioneering of the Lincoln Highway in 1913, that accelerated the movement for permanent and uniform signage. Although enthusiastic efforts got most of the route marked within the first few months, thirty to fifty percent of those markers fell victim to thieves and vandals within the first year and had to be replaced. The solution was a system of thirty four hundred concrete markers that would not be so easily disturbed.
By the late twenties, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials had worked out a standardized roadway numbering system that continues to serve to this day. Lincoln Highway sign photos from the Peter Helck Collection courtesy of Racemaker Press. Right thumbnail above courtesy of Iowa Public Television. Missouri highway signs photos from 1926 courtesy of the Joe Sonderman Collection.
A recent post on The Old Motor covered the 1912 Cadillac starting system, which is generally considered to be the first successful production automobile starter in America. As a follow up to that article, three other types of systems also being used at the time are featured here today.
The Volkmar Starter shown above was a complicated spring-driven mechanical affair. The device transfered its driving-action through a dog clutch directly to the front of the crankshaft. Through a complex gear train controlled by a Geneva motion, the energy and turning motion contained in the spring turned the engine. It also utilized a system that automatically rewound the device just after the engine started. The unit was activated by a foot pedal and cable. For the initial winding, the crank seen at the top left was used.
The compressed air starting system was applied in two different ways: By using air pressure derived from the engine itself, or by the use of an engine-driven air compressor.
The system shown above was used on the 1912 Chalmers 36 horsepower models. It used a check valve located at the top of the engine (A) and piping to direct a part of the compression or combustion pressure to the air tank (B). When the dash-mounted valve (C) is pushed, it directs pressure from the tank to the distributor (D). That device being timed to the camshaft, then directs the pressure into an engine cylinder that is on the power stroke and begins to turn the engine. The next cylinder in the timing sequence gets the second charge and this cycle continues until the engine starts.
And finally, there were a number of different types of acetylene systems used: They ranged from a simple feed on the intake manifold, to complicated units that directed the gas pressure via an engine-timed distributor.
The Disco system shown above is a high-pressure device that administered a metered supply of acetylene to each cylinder in the engine. One turn of the handle on the distributor would fill each cylinder with a sufficient charge of the gas. Then the ignition system was activated and a trembler coil would ignite the air and acetylene mixture and start the engine. As with all of these systems, once turning, the engine would then pick up the normal gasoline and air mixture and commence running on its own. You can take a look back at the 1912 Cadillac starting system here.