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Thread: Beehive Brouhaha History

  1. #11
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    To go with Jerry's post.Even HD has used the term Knucklehead in recent t-shirts & other parlor items,so they have used a term coined elsewhere to discribe a bike that they never originally called knucklehead.Beehive lense was a common name that HD never coined or copyrighted

  2. #12
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    Duffy, I wonder about the tombstone taillight, the Panhead, and Shovelhead names. Harley uses those names now but I'll bet they didn't when all those items were released. Popular phrases have a way of catching on. Traditionalists and purists might wish other wise but good luck with that. I'll just call them a '39 to '46 taillight and be done with it. I wonder what Tedd calls them in his book?
    DrSprocket

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by duffeycycles View Post
    Actually Fletcher,We have discussed this on the forums several times thru the years.
    I have read through the discussions, but the discussions pretty much end with "it's correct to call the earlier tail light the beehive because H-D called it the beehive in literature" or something similar. Are you saying that someone in prior discussions has pointed out that H-D never actually called the 34 tail light a beehive and that H-D actually called the 34 tail light the Air-Flo tail light? If so, then I missed it and I don't understand why people are still claiming that H-D called the 34 tail light a beehive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Haynes View Post
    There are examples above of H-D calling it Bee Hive. Yet you chose to ignore it.
    Where? In those examples, H-D is clearly calling the lens a beehive (not the tail light). I quoted those examples in the initial post (e.g., "A new beehive type lens has been fitted to the tail light." and "...new beehive lens featured on the tail lights of the 1935 models..."). H-D isn't saying that a new lens has been fitted to a beehive type tail light or saying that a new lens has been featured on the beehive tail lights of the 1935 models.

    I believe that the examples you are citing are similar to references to "Adjustable License Plate Frame" (i.e., adjustable license plate or adjustable frame?) and "Chrome Saddle Bag Plates" (i.e., chrome saddle bag or chrome plates?). I guess I just read things differently than you do.

    Quote Originally Posted by duffeycycles View Post
    To go with Jerry's post.Even HD has used the term Knucklehead in recent t-shirts & other parlor items,so they have used a term coined elsewhere to discribe a bike that they never originally called knucklehead.Beehive lense was a common name that HD never coined or copyrighted
    I understand. But, until now, I had not seen anyone claim that H-D never actually called the 34 tail light a beehive and that H-D actually called the 34 tail light the Air-Flo tail light. If someone has already pointed this out, then I don't understand why people are still claiming that H-D called the 34 tail light a beehive. Apologies if these particular points have already been discussed and settled.

    Quote Originally Posted by RichO View Post
    Duffy, I wonder about the tombstone taillight, the Panhead, and Shovelhead names. Harley uses those names now but I'll bet they didn't when all those items were released. Popular phrases have a way of catching on. Traditionalists and purists might wish other wise but good luck with that. I'll just call them a '39 to '46 taillight and be done with it. I wonder what Tedd calls them in his book?
    I agree. I have seen people make this point (i.e., fuzzy history; perpetuation error) as to many parts and nicknames. But, I wasn't aware that someone had already made this point as to the 34 tail light. Apologies if I missed it. I have also seen references to the "early beehive tail light" and "late beehive tail light," but the date references seem to work best for everyone and help avoid the whole "what's correct beehive" discussion completely. I'm fine with that.
    Fletcher Clark Johnston
    AMCA #282

  4. #14
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    I'm still confused as to the logic and rationale and consistency for what is deemed "correct" and why, but I may be resigned to ignorance here and waiting for the experts to translate and interpret the gospel/literature for me.

    I researched the subject and tried to keep the post strictly factual and address issues that were not addressed in prior discussions. But, if I am being accused of beating a dead horse, then I may have failed. Maybe everyone is just sick of beehive discussions or maybe there isn't any other literature on point and conventional wisdom is based on a shared view of the literature that Chris has already posted. Maybe I forgot my place as a newbie and only succeeded in shooting myself in the foot when it comes to getting help from Chris.

    I don't agree with all of it, but, according to "conventional wisdom" (as I understand it now): (1) H-D called the 1934 tail light the Air-Flo tail light; (2) H-D called the 1935 tail light the Beehive tail light (e.g., in the literature Chris posted); and (3) if a light has a beehive lens (i.e., a lens that H-D has called a beehive lens), then the light is a beehive light. I am familiar with the second claim, but I was not previously aware of the third claim. This thread has been educational for me in more ways than one.
    Fletcher Clark Johnston
    AMCA #282

  5. #15
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    In case anyone is interested, below please find some relevant literature. I don't believe it changes or otherwise affects conventional wisdom, so it shouldn't be controversial. I particularly enjoyed the article from the October 1978 issue of American Motorcyclist.

    Motorcyclist (January 1935):

    "The tail light lens is of a new beehive design. This accounts for the slightly longer appearance of the tail light assembly. The lens sticks out far enough that it gives warning from the side. No longer need a fellow hang lights over his machine like the running lights on a battleship and place that added wear and tear upon his battery. There is enough bulge to the headlight and to the tail light to make a 35 motorcycle easily discernible from the side."


    H-D Enthusiast (February 1935):


    H-D Accessories Catalog (1934):


    H-D Enthusiast (August 1933):


    American Motorcyclist (October 1978):


    [End]
    Fletcher Clark Johnston
    AMCA #282

  6. #16
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    At the risk of digging in deeper, 'the new beehive tail light lens' in the 1935 Police bike description could be read as referring to the lens for the new beehive tail light. The knucklehead was originally the 'sump oiler project' when it was started in 1932, then the Overhead 61 before it was described as the knucklehead. I doubt the Panhead and the Shovelhead were called that by Harley on their release, even though they would call them that today. Times change and new information comes to hand, so the concept of 'correct' gets a little blurred, even to the numerous AMCA judges we have on this forum.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Slocombe View Post
    At the risk of digging in deeper, 'the new beehive tail light lens' in the 1935 Police bike description could be read as referring to the lens for the new beehive tail light.
    It may not be digging deeper if it doesn't challenge conventional wisdom. I would certainly understand that possible reading (i.e., Chrome License Plate Frame vs. French Glass Goggles) absent any context (e.g., if the lens was not new and the tail light was new). Absent any context, "the new beehive tail light lens" could also refer to the new lens for the beehive tail light. But, we have context (e.g., contemporaneous references in H-D literature to a "new beehive type lens .... fitted to the tail light" and a "new beehive lens featured on the tail lights...").

    The lens is clearly beehive-shaped and fairly called a beehive lens. And, I understand why a tail light with a beehive-shaped lens would be called a beehive tail light (even if H-D did not call the lens a beehive lens). But, I had not seen that argument made by anyone before now. I only saw the "H-D called the tail light the beehive in literature" argument in the prior 10+ years of discussions. That is the argument that I didn't understand and disagree with. But, like I said, I may alone in this regard and I may be wrong. I wouldn't be shocked to see a clear reference to a beehive tail light. I haven't seen one yet, but I am new and haven't seen much at all compared to everyone else.
    Fletcher Clark Johnston
    AMCA #282

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Haynes
    If you actually spent time with motorcycle people instead of your books and computer you might learn something. Next week is the AMCA meet in Wauseon, Ohio. Go there and learn. Your collage degrees aren't going to help you in this. I sincerely hope that this will be the last time you hang this subject up for a beating again.
    True to form Chris! I'm not challenging your expertise or authority or position as the god of all H-D knowledge or the king of all forums. Although I did not intend to disparage or disrespect you, I apologized and kowtowed when you took a Facebook post the wrong way. I have consistently praised you and gone out of my way to avoid offending you or injuring your pride or sensibilities. But, you appear to view historical, factual questions as some kind of personal attack or affront. You tell me to do this and do that and suggest that I "invest several thousand dollars and years reading" all the literature that you have, but then you throw a hissy fit when I ask a question or try to research something. I am happy to invest in this. It would be faster and easier to pay someone else to do everything, but I'm here trying to learn what I can for myself in what little spare time I have. I may be new to this, but I have already read enough and spent enough time with motorcycle people to learn a little bit about you. If you don't want to be helpful or constructive, that's your choice.

    P.S. I don't know why you keep talking about my education or what you think you know about me or how I spend my time, but I don't have any degrees in collage [sic]. Your statements may say more about you than they do about me. If you want to name call and make threats and try to bully on the internet, that's your choice. If a beehive discussion causes you to act like this, I can't imagine the weeping and gnashing of teeth that would ensue if any mere mortal dared question a jiffy stand.
    Fletcher Clark Johnston
    AMCA #282

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