The Davis Sewing Machine Company was
purchased by George Huffman in 1888. He moved the plant form New
York to Dayton, Ohio in 1889. The Davis Company built there first
bicycles in 1892. At first, they made bikes for other companies and
hardware stores. 1895 was the first year that they produced bikes
under their name, "Dayton". By 1897 Davis was the largest
manufacturer of bikes in the United States. Davis produced top notch
bikes with very fine finishes. All the bikes were produced in the
same color, a carmine red.
In 1916 Davis purchased the Yale and Snell lines from the
Consolidated Manufacturing Company of Toledo, Ohio. Davis also
purchased the "National" line of bikes from the National Bicycle
Company of Bay City, Michigan. Davis kept the National head badge
changing only the name of the city in which the bikes were built.
Davis even kept painting the bikes the National blue color.
Davis also produced bikes under the names of Duro, Dixie Flyer,
LaFrance, Daytonia, Shrayer, Ohio, Shapleish Hardware, Western Auto
and Western Flyer.
Horace Huffman had worked in the business since 1900 and by 1922 he
was in charge of liquidating the assets of The Davis Sewing Machine
Company. He used the profits from the liquidation to form the
Huffman Manufacturing Company. The Davis Sewing Machine Company had
survived 30 years in the bike industry, but were finished by 1922.
Horace Huffman was put in charged of liquidating the companies
machinery. He used the funds to create the Huffman Manufacturing
Company in 1924. The remaining Davis bike inventory was sold through
1925. The Huffman company concentrated on non-bike products until
1928 when the Huffman Company incorporated for the purpose of
building bikes. Work began on modernizing the Davis factory. It wasn't
until October 1934 that the Huffman Company announced their new line
of bikes. They used many of the Davis names including Snell,
National, LaFrance, Dixie Flyer and Dayton (for the top bikes only).
New names that appeared included Zephyr, Airflyte, Davis Flyer as
well as many private label brands. The Yale named had been
transferred to the D.P. Harris Company. All Huffman bikes used
balloon tires and "Aircrafted" frames. All joints were fillet
brazed, then ground down and polished. The models were identified by
D (Dayton) and H (all others) and a number (1, 2, 3 or 4), a higher
number meaning more equipment.
Later in 1957 Huffman acquired the bicycle division of Monark as
well. Some of the Monark tooling was shipped to Celina and the
Monark name lived on into the 1980's. Some Monark parts began to
show up on Huffy branded bikes such as the "Custom Royale". Huffy's
four millionth bike was produced in 1961.
By 1975 Huffy had a 28.7% market share. In 1977 the named was
officially changed to the Huffy Corporation. In the 1980's Huffy
acquired the rights to the Raleigh name in the United States. The
Huffy Tech Center in Miamisburg, Ohio, under the direction of Mike
Melton, produced the 1984 Olympic bikes. Greg LeMond would ride
Huffy branded bikes in the Tour De France.