simplex motorcycle history
(130 cc), magneto (by Phelon, later Wico) and dual spark plugs, Front: short rocker arms and two coil springs on top of suspension tubes, This page was last edited on 2 November 2020, at 22:12. “My dad knew that in the summertime, inside a building, it was very hot. in. Owners found many uses for Servi-Cycles, including errands, pleasure rides, and package delivery using a three-wheeled model. [3], Although Simplex Manufacturing Corporation produced motorcycles for over 20 years, the last Simplex Automatics looked almost the same as the company's original 1935 Simplex Servi-Cycle motorcycle. Servi-Cycles went to England and Canada as part of the Lend-Lease program, and they went behind enemy lines in World War II. Paul Treen would often visit the factory's tool shop and work with the engineers on new ideas himself, resulting in continuous improvements to Simplex products instead of annual new model introductions. The Simplex factory was another area where Treen proved to be an innovator. Simplex Servi-Cycle, built from 1935 until the 1960s, was the only motorcycle manufactured in the South, and its simple design and low cost made it a popular alternative mode of transportation. Wollard, who began his own “picking” career concentrating on glass globes from gas pumps, finds the Simplex Servi-Cycle something special. Wollard has devoted much time since then to preventing that from happening to another machine. It was built in New Orleans and, surprisingly, it was the only motorcycle ever manufactured in the southern part of the U.S. [7], In 1956, Simplex began manufacturing a scooter based on the Simplex Automatic drivetrain. “I saw my first Simplex when I was 8 years old – it was brand spanking new and was just laying on the ground. Simplex Manufacturing Corporation was an American manufacturer that made motorcycles from 1935 to 1975. The company founder was Paul Treen, a local Harley-Davidson dealership owner from Baton Rouge who believed there was a need for a smaller lightweight motorcycle to complement the heavier Harleys and Indians of that era and to give consumers an economical alternative to these competitors. If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. He had 65 inventions to his credit; maybe his most famous invention was a kick stand, he sold that to Harley-Davidson, and they patented it!”.

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The Servi-Cycle on exhibit there is … He found some investors and quickly opened a factory in New Orleans. [11], The Servi-Cycle used a magneto of Simplex's own design, providing 6 volt electricity for the dual ignition and for the headlight, taillight and stoplight. The engine had dual spark plugs in its cylinder head. A loyal fan of the Servi-Cycle, Gary L. Wollard of Bradenton, Fla., has written a booklet about “America’s Premier Lightweight Motorcycle” and owns “about 100 of them – I guess you could call that an obsession,” he admitted. He reasoned that productivity would be higher if the men were comfortable, and worker turnover would be less. Our collection database is a work in progress. Simplex was the only motorcycle manufacturer located in the Deep South for many years, until Confederate Motorcycles began production. This bike would be a logical upgrade from a Whizzer-powered bicycle — economical, easy to operate and relatively inexpensive.

Treen was such a successful salesman for Harley-Davidson that he sold 2 percent of the company’s annual output in Louisiana (to the Louisiana State Police). [1], Simplex's minimalist philosophy was maintained throughout the company's history, whose designs changed little after 1935. Paul Treen always charged the government $5 less per cycle than his cost to build them and reportedly received a note from the Government Accounting Office after the war commending him and stating that the government made a profit selling them for surplus. That one’s color will be olive drab, but Wollard related that while there were four or five standard colors, for $5 extra you could get a Servi-Cycle in any shade you wanted. See our privacy statement. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online. Simplex Netherlands. The Servi-Cycle on exhibit there is a 1935 model. The scooter was not made in large numbers and was discontinued in 1960 along with the Servi-Cycle. The Simplex Manufacturing Corporation was created in the 1930s in New Orleans, Louisiana. Paul Treen appreciated good publicity for his invention. They thought it was a very nice place to work. "Loved motorcycles all my life, and the Simplex is the reason why....friend used to ride me on his when I was 8 or 9.....loved the simplicity of that bike.....remember everything about it.....own a Harley now....but wish I had that little motorbike out in my garage right now....", Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited email. The Simplex Servi-Cycle was “an extremely simple motorcycle with a single-cylinder 2-stroke engine producing 2 horsepower [sic],” according to the Smithsonian Institution’s online notes for the exhibit, “America on the Move” at the Museum of American History. As John explains, his father was a native of Purvis, Miss.

When Harley-Davidson rejected the idea, Treen decided to enter the market himself and designed his Servi-Cycle. We may update this record based on further research and review. The Simplex was a very basic lightweight motorcycle with many features dating back to the early machines of the 1910s and 1920s, such as the belt drive. Give your boy a Servi-cycle – safer and easier to ride than a bike. That particular machine had been ruined by a young owner who neglected maintenance and didn’t mix oil with the gas in the engine (a necessity for that motor). After review, selected comments will appear on this page along with the name you provide. [2][4], Western Auto sold Simplex motorcycles under the Wizard brand in the mid-1950s. Treen was a dealer for Harley-Davidson Motorcycles in Baton Rouge, and he had originally approached that company with an idea for a smaller, lighter cycle, “something that Harley owners’ sons could use,” according to Treen’s son, John S. Treen. [5] Treen had sold the company three years earlier, in 1972. In his own experience, a trip over the bridge on a Servi-cycle could yield speeds up to 50 miles an hour (the usual range was closer to 30.) “I never did that again!”.

I think it was $149 – and after World War II it went up to $248. Between 12th and 14th Streets Soon his products were rolling out the door and onto the city streets and across the country (and, ultimately, to other countries). “Riding motorcycles? He died when he was 84.” John recalls. Paul Treen, father of the late Governor Dave Treen and an innovative engineer and inveterate tinkerer, started the company.

[3] The Simplex Servi-Cycle was introduced in 1935. Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts. The first Simplex motorcycle was introduced in 1935, and as the name implied, was built with simplicity in mind. Western Auto sold Simplex motorcycles under the Wizard brand in the mid-1950s. [10], The Servi-Cycle was claimed to have a fuel economy of 100 mpg‑US (120 mpg‑imp; 2.4 L/100 km). After the Huey P. Long Bridge officially opened in 1935, a Simplex Servi-Cycle went over the span.

The Simplex Servi-Cycle was “an extremely simple motorcycle with a single-cylinder 2-stroke engine producing 2 horsepower [sic],” according to the Smithsonian Institution’s online notes for the exhibit, “America on the Move” at the Museum of American History. Simplex's minimalist philosophy was maintained throughout the company's history, whose designs changed little after 1935. By the 1950s Simplex's designs were primitive, leading to the end of Servi-Cycle and Automatic production in 1960. Simplex was founded by Paul Treen (father of United States Congressman and Louisiana Governor David Conner Treen) in New Orleans, Louisiana in the late 1920s with an initial investment of $25.

“We have a photograph of General Curtis LeMay riding one,” John says. Treen had been a dealer in Harley-Davidson motorcycles and had pitched them the idea of making a lightweight motorcycle for young riders. Between 1935 and 1960, Simplex made variations of the Simplex Servi-Cycle including the 1953–1960 Simplex Automatic. [8] In 1941, a pedal-operated clutch was added. If you have something to share that would enrich our knowledge about this object, use the form below. Got my first one at Christmas 1956 and acquired six or seven of the Servi-Cycles. In another new idea, “he had music in the factory, and the men liked it. By sv1ambo CC BY 2.0 Norton 633. But, Harley-Davidson didn’t take up the idea of adding smaller machines to its line, so Paul Treen decided to build and sell the small cycles himself. If you require a personal response, please use our contact page. The Simplex was a ‘push to start’ bike until 1953, but the ‘48 had a toe clutch that made this task much easier.

[6], A 1935 Simplex Servi-Cycle motorcycle is currently on display in the Smithsonian Institution's America on the Move exhibit. IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and media viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections.


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