Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Standing for a Mechanical Ideal

Check out the hot ride in the early part of the 20th Century over across the Big Pond. Labor Cycles were winning races. You were a stud if you rode one. Ride down any street in France on one of their "Truss-Bridge" Racing Cycles, old ladies swooned and men stepped out of the way. Children would trail you skipping, jumping and giggling as only children can.

Meanwhile over here in the States, Iver Johnson Sporting Goods was creating profit by building guns and bikes. When Uncivil wars end the machine creating and supplying the tools of death had to find new avenues to pursue. Manufacturing momentum is not something that can be turned off on a dime. Too many people, communities, nations came to depend on the weapons makers for their livelihood. From steel furnaces tended to by soot covered men with blackened leather gloves to the artisans etching filigree in bad light onto the barrels of millions of guns, Society had come to rely on the idea of Mass Production.

As it turns out Iver Johnson had their finger on the pulse of America. America had become fascinated with technology. Especially the technology of transportation that did not rely on four legged hay burners or monstrous eight wheel locomotives. The bicycle was coming into it's own in the late 1800s and Iver Johnson saw to it they were part of it. They had the technology. They had the factories. They had the railroads running right up to their doors. They would be able to fill the growing need for personal weaponry and personal locomotion. Two things we Americans seem to covet even to this day.

After all, their ad says it all

"IVER JOHNSON" is not merely the name of a man - it stands for a mechanical ideal

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