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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This might be a stupid question or the thread migh get shut down before it even gets answered. But I will give it a try anyways.

How and when did the knuck, pan, shovel. Get there name?

Did Harley introduce the 1948 harley Davidson FLH _________ "?panhead?".

From what I was always told it was the old bikers that started to nick name the motors, or was it the factory?

I'm a young cat, and from day one I was told that is this motor and this is that motor, but how far back did it start? Did they all get there names when the came out?

Sorry if I'm racking the brains of the old timers, I just love history and want to know about the old time lifestyles.

Thanks and sorry if this is out of line question.
 

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It was old bikers. Remember when the Evo came out in 84-85? Bikers then called them "Blockheads" but somehow the term "Evo" stuck...

What I don't understand is how the factory was able to trademark the nicknames created by their fans and used for many years before the copyright/trademark. same goes for HOG, Apehangers, etc.....
 

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What I don't understand is how the factory was able to trademark the nicknames created by their fans and used for many years before the copyright/trademark. same goes for HOG, Apehangers, etc.....
The factory is nothing without them,,and they cashed in on a counter culture. Then took it repackaged it and sold it to the yuppies and hipsters

Also forced the competition ( the ones who made them what they are ) out of business due to Trademark, etc. Hell HD makes more off of clothes and accessories than bikes,,lol

Also from what I have heard ,,anyone can trade mark some thing, even if they don't own it ( not that simple like it sounds, but almost )

also Panheads do look like those old omelet cooking pans that fold in 1/2
 

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i wondered the same thing years ago but never asked. i figured it was a dumb question.
i figured the nicknames came from the bikers/riders/mechanics/magazines.
my thought was that henry ford never called his V8 flathead a flathead. he named it "L" head or 90 degree "L" head.
and the buick nailhead wansnt named that from GM. they called it the wildcat
 

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Until the "Twin Cam" came out. That is a marketing ploy, to continue the naming of the motors.

Lawyers, are like having a set of torches and a welder in your shop. You can make anything, fit anything, with a little experience and some money.

Depends on what the meaning of "IS" is. Like Monica's cigar boy said. Then he wiped it on her dress.

Excuse my shyness. I am trying to come out of my shell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The flat head, I could see. And I thought that was sort of a dumb question. But I didn't know it was called a "L" head. The nail head was the first non Harley nickname that came to mind but I was kind of scared people were going to flame me just over asking the first question.

I get the a knuckle looks like a knuckle and so on so on. But it must have be a term that was put into a magazine. They didnt have the JJ back then to keep everyone in the know.

I guess where I came about this is, my father called ironheads "spoonhead". Cause it's a "baby shovel". He said that and made me think.

Did you old timers can panheads "pans". Back in the '50's? How far back do the terms go? I'm sure easyrider and all the others made the terms stick, but what about before all of that.
 

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We also called Pans, "Tin Cans" and "Dishpans".
As far as HD protecting their copyrighted logos, etc, it's just common business practice. Before HD got tough, everyone was ripping off their name and logo and sticking on anything they could sell. Copyrighting "Hog", Fat Bob and so forth was just a smart move for them. All major manufacturers do it. Anyone would have done it if they knew, at the time, it could make them some money.
Ironhead came about to differentiate the early bikes from the later alloy head models.
As to the, often heard, complaint about walking into the stealership and asking for Pan parts, Go to a Ford dealer and ask for parts for your 64 Galaxie
 

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Did you old timers can panheads "pans". Back in the '50's? How far back do the terms go? I'm sure easyrider and all the others made the terms stick, but what about before all of that.
I know that the term "panhead" dates back to the time when I started riding and that was early 60's, and I'd think it came about right after it was introduced in '48. It was an easy way to differentiate between the other Big Twins such as the flathead and knuckle head.

Bob
 

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My grandfather lovingly referred to his 38 U as his ,"Flathead", and he passed in the 70's. Im quite shure this was well back into the 40's using these terms, as my grandad was not one for new terms or change of any kind. He was one of the guys who came home from Germany after WWII and rode with a group of local guys/vets. He was pretty crazy back then, one of the ,"social outcasts" acording to my mother, because of his heavy drinking & riding.
I guess that because the nickname,"hog" comes from the 1920's ie. the factory sponsered hillclimb/race team mascot (a pig) that the other nicknames were probably just right in line with the times.
Dont know for shure, just my 2¢ !!!
 

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My grandfather lovingly referred to his 38 U as his ,"Flathead", and he passed in the 70's. Im quite shure this was well back into the 40's using these terms, as my grandad was not one for new terms or change of any kind. He was one of the guys who came home from Germany after WWII and rode with a group of local guys/vets. He was pretty crazy back then, one of the ,"social outcasts" acording to my mother, because of his heavy drinking & riding.
I guess that because the nickname,"hog" comes from the 1920's ie. the factory sponsered hillclimb/race team mascot (a pig) that the other nicknames were probably just right in line with the times.
Dont know for shure, just my 2¢ !!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It nice to know when it started. I don't mean or want to bring up any discussion, but like the term 1%, we all have heard it started with the holster hill climbs.

Frisco style is a term we use (and I would say over use, or diluted to fit more) all the time, but they didn't build there bikes and go "and we call'ith frisco style".

I am surprised that the pan term was adapted so early on, it's funny Harley owned the rights to the term shovelhead, But they dont embrace it. He'll they won't even work on a bike over 10 years old, don't even think about asking them to have parts for shovel pan or knuckle.
 

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I have had the pleasure of hanging out with some real "old school" riders from back in the late 1930's and early 1940's... I have noticed that a lot of them don't use the terms Knucklehead and Flathead very much; they talk about "side valves" (flatheads) and "overhead valves" (knuck's). I wonder if "knucklehead" really only became popular when the panhead came out...
 

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I have had the pleasure of hanging out with some real "old school" riders from back in the late 1930's and early 1940's... I have noticed that a lot of them don't use the terms Knucklehead and Flathead very much; they talk about "side valves" (flatheads) and "overhead valves" (knuck's). I wonder if "knucklehead" really only became popular when the panhead came out...
This is a good point. I've heard side-valve used a fair bit by old-timers. On the other hand, I don't know how prevalent that would have been before the knucklehead came out. More as a term to differentiate. I've also heard the terms 61's and 74's. When it comes to sporties, I hear 'sportie' and 'CH' a lot amongst older riders to denote the difference between the xlh and xlch.
 

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Until the "Twin Cam" came out. That is a marketing ploy, to continue the naming of the motors.

Lawyers, are like having a set of torches and a welder in your shop. You can make anything, fit anything, with a little experience and some money.

Depends on what the meaning of "IS" is. Like Monica's cigar boy said. Then he wiped it on her dress.

Excuse my shyness. I am trying to come out of my shell.
Not sure if it's a Florida thing or what, but that sounds exactly like something Dragon would say. Awesome.
 

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Before the flathead/L heads/side valves were the I-O-E motors ("pocket valve" or "F-heads".
From what I've read, when the Knuck came out in 36 the factory guys referred to them as "overheads".
 
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