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The "Indian Motocycle Co." was originally founded as the Hendee Manufacturing Company by George M. Hendee
in 1897 to manufacture bicycles. These were initially badged as "Silver
King" and "Silver Queen" brands but the name "American Indian", quickly
shortened to just "Indian", was adopted by Hendee from 1898 onwards
because it gave better product recognition in export markets. Oscar Hedstrom
joined in 1900. Both Hendee and Hedstrom were former bicycle racers and
manufacturers, and they teamed up to produce a motorcycle with a
1.75 bhp, single-cylinder engine in Hendee's home town of Springfield.
The motorcycle was successful and sales increased dramatically during
the next decade.