Motorcycle Mailmen In 1912

Using motorcycles to deliver mail by any means

Rural mail carriers in 1912, Kansas with their motorcycles.
After horses and before cars or jeeps, the motorcycle enjoyed a career as the postal carrier's means of transport.United States Postal Service

The United States Postal Service relied on horse and wagon for deliveries for generations. Rural mail carriers in particular, faced with large distances and rutted roads, stuck with their equine co-workers well into the 20th century. That began to change as motorcycles took hold. Lighter, more maneuverable, and often more reliable than the automobiles of the day, early Harley-Davidson and Indian models ferried postmen and their cargo across the country's counties.

This wasn’t by coincidence. Manufacturers, sensing government dollars and an unexploited niche, wasted no time advertising the motorcycle’s merits in publications such as the R.F.D. News, the Rural Letter Carriers’ Association’s newsletter. In this image from May 1912, carriers in Kiowa, Kansas, pose with trusty single-cylinder Harley-Davidsons and the daily mail.