This American company was a leading player in both the bicycle and arms industries, and its growth coincided with the birth of the advertising industry. Witty adverts and dynamic advertising material were the trademark of the time.
Iver Johnson developed snappy slogans for their two most important patents.
TRUST THE TRUSS
The Iver Johnson Truss Bridge Frame bicycle – the company’s headlining machine – was accompanied by the motto TRUST THE TRUSS.
Above: 1917 IVER JOHNSON CUSHION TRUSS FRAME TRACK RACER
Other companies brought out their own truss bridge models after the original Iver Johnson patent expired in 1917. Columbia made a prototype model featuring their version of the ‘Truss Bridge’ frame, but did not advertise it, to avoid patent infringement. It also had cushion suspension and shaft drive.
Below: 1904 COLUMBIA CUSHION ARCH BAR CHAINLESS
HAMMER THE HAMMER
The famous Safety Hammerless Automatic Pistol featured bylines such as HAMMER THE HAMMER…
COCKED BUT LOCKED
COCKED BUT LOCKED was another catch-phrase used to illustrate that it was not possible to accidentally discharge the gun.
PAPA SAYS IT WON’T HURT US…
The advert below showing a young girl in bed with a pistol in her lap is probably the ultimate in bad taste in this genre.
JOHNSON & BYE
The Smoker pistol below was manufactured by Iver Johnson around 1880, when his company was called Johnson & Bye.
Major Taylor was the world champion cyclist who was cheated by the Americans because he was black.
But he fought back …and won!
TRUSS BRIDGE BICYCLES & IVER JOHNSON EPHEMERA
This website features Truss Bridge Frame bicycles by Iver Johnson, Columbia, Red Wing, Labor and Terrot. You can also see Iver Johnson guns, ephemera and adverts, and a page on Major Taylor who was Iver Johnson’s most famous racer.
THE LATEST ADDITION