The Shorpy Archive
6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Social Shorpy

To love him is to like him. Our goal: 100k "likes":

Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Motorcycle Cop: 1922

Motorcycle Cop: 1922

August 1922. Washington, D.C. "Eslie Williams." The officer and his Henderson #1. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


Four Cross

wheel spokes. Gives the most "comfortable" ride possible on bicycle wheels.

Re-Tire Time

Looks like a pretty wicked gash at 6:00 on the front tire.

On the "suicide clutch"

my 1936 HD ULH had a foot clutch/hand shift , and it wasn't too bad once you got used to it. The Henderson clutch is double linked, the foot pedal, as noted, and a second hand lever that also worked the clutch, so that if you needed both feet down, you still had control of the clutch. Ace motorcycles had a similar setup.
Hendersons were quick, the 1922 Police model could do an honest 100 mph, although I doubt the brakes were up to the job.


Are you sure that's not a Harley? There's a lot of oil leaking around that crankcase.

Low set handle bars

Re: Painful ergonomics - I thought the handle bars were set low, so the officer could drive with his knees; leaving both hands free for his rolling shootouts with Al Capone and Bonny & Clyde. Then I saw this and it changed my thinking entirely.

Hey why don't you stop by the detectives office

put in a report about your stolen clothes iron.


Is that Griffith Stadium in the background?

Re: Sound

There is a YouTube video of a running 1928 Henderson,
it sounds great!

Too large to embed so here's a link.

Old Bikes

Yes, that is "The" brake pedal on the left. There is no front brake. I would guess the rocker-clutch is on the right side of the bike.

Suicide Clutch

I'm going to guess the left peddle is a suicide clutch (next to the gear shift mechanism levers. So-called because if you are stopped with the machine in gear and take your foot off the peddle (perhaps to maintain balance) you'll shoot forward unless the engine stalls.

[Psst. It's a PEDAL. - Dave]

Harley Who?

The Henderson, built from 1911 to 1931, was considered to be the Rolls-Royce of motorcycles and was the favorite ride of police departments throughout the country. (Rolls-Royces, sorry to say, were not considered to be the Hendersons of luxury cars.)


A motorcycle with a more distinct sound than a HD.

Painful ergonomics

Handle bars set to hit thighs on close turns, seat angled down at the rear, up at the front, oh my. Like the palm-slap horn/siren though.

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2014 Shorpy Inc.