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May 2, 2022

Fascinating Vintage Photographs of Scooter Enthusiasts in Nebraska, 1945

The Cushman scooter company started in 1903 in Lincoln, Nebraska, by Everett and Clinton Cushman. The company incorporated as Cushman Motor Works in 1913. Cushman began production of their four-stroke Husky engine in 1922.

Cushman produced engines for farm equipment, pumps, lawn mowers, and boats. Cushman began making Auto-Glide scooters in 1936 as a means to increase the sale of Husky engines during the Great Depression. Cushman scooters were widely used by the United States Armed Forces in World War II and as an alternative to automobiles before and after the war.

The days after World War II saw the rise of a different kind of scooter. The scooters that took off in the post-war years have this in common with e-scooters: their burst in popularity was tied to the societal shifts of its day.

In 1945 as the war was nearing its end, LIFE photographer Wallace Kirkland documented the Cushman Motor Works in Nebraska, showing both the plant where scooters were made and also the locals enjoying their products.

A scooter rider in Nebraska, 1945.

Outside the Cushman Motor Works scooter plant in Nebraska, 1945.

Outside the Cushman Motor Works scooter plant in Nebraska, 1945.

Scooter enthusiasts in Nebraska, 1945.

Scooter enthusiasts in Nebraska, 1945.

Nebraska was a center of scooter production in America, 1945.

A scooter enthusiast in Nebraska, 1945.

Scooter riders in Nebraska, 1945.

Inside the Cushman Motor Works scooter plant, 1945.

(Photos by Dmitiri Kessel/LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock)




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