In 1903, the Cushman Company was born where it continued to operate for 100 years until 2003. Prior to 1936 the Cushman Company produced small engines for a variety of farm equipment including, pumps, push style lawn mowers, and a variety of different fishing boats.
Starting in 1936 the Cushman Company began its production of motor scooters and mopeds where it continued this production through to 1965. These historical Cushman Company vehicles were used by the military during the Second World War and the Cushman Company had also provided an automobile alternative both before and after the war.
After the Cushman motor scooter ceased its production, Cushman moved on to produce a range of golf carts, turf and lawn maintenance equipment as well as a fairly large selection of industrial vehicles.
The Eagle, the most successful Cushman motor scooter model, which in a similar fashion resembled motorcycles with their top mounted fuel tanks and their exposed engines, had a production life of around 16 years.
There were also several other Cushman models that featured the traditional step-through motorcycle design which was and still is a common design for most. In an attempt to develop Cushman's iconic image, most of their scooter models followed the design of the Vespa scooters.
During the 1950's Cushman designed several jet-aged style motor scooters to mimic the era's car bodies. Of these models, the Pacemaker and the Road King were the most popular.
In similar fashion with other small motorcycle manufacturers of the time, Cushman too utilised the major U.S. department stores. While some companies used Montgomery Wards, Cushman used the Sears Department Stores to sell their scooters under the name Allstate.
The Model 53 Cushman was probably the most noted and the most famous due to its use as a military model for the United States Army as well as the Draft Board during the World War II era.
Cushman's Model 53 was designed to be light enough and sturdy enough to be dropped by parachute by the United State's Army Airborne troops. For this reason the Model 53 became known as the Cushman Airborne. The Cushman Model 53 was also used as a mode of transport around military bases and for the military base's messenger and postal services.
The biggest feature of the Cushman was their automatic clutch which when used correctly allowed its rider the ability to twist the right throttle grip to go and step on the pedal to stop. The biggest problem with this was that even though the throttle grip was used in all motorcycles, the Cushman's were backwards, in order to accelerate one would have to twist the grip up and over towards the front rather than down and under to the rear.
Despite this slight fall back, the Cushman scooters were considered to be easy and fun to ride by anyone.
With Cushman's ease of operation and their step through design, the Cushman motor scooter became an instant success for both women and men to use. Some families even allowed their younger children to go into town to pick up odds and ends for the farm due to the Cushman's ease of operation.
Weighing in at a low 250 - 335 pounds and having an outstanding 9 horsepower, Cushman was easily able to claim that their Cushman Motor Scooters could get 75 miles per gallon.
Cushman even advertised their motor scooters as only having "a penny-a-mile operating cost," this too helped with the popularity of the complete line of Cushman Motor Scooters.
In 1965, Cushman stopped production of their motor scooters for ever, but due to left over stock after shutting down the line, they continued sales until 1966. These last models, 1966 models, were in all reality 1965 models but that would not matter to those lucky individuals that were to buy the last of the Cushman Motor Scooter line.
Original Authors: Nicholas
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 06/06/2008