The Iver Johnson company was based in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and was in operation from 1871-1993. The company was founded by Iver Johnson, a Norwegian immigrant. Johnson was born in Nordfjord, Norway, and later emigrated from Norway to the United States. Johnson was formally educated as a gunsmith in Bergen in 1857, and prior to emigrating to the U.S., he had a gun store in Oslo, Norway. Iver Johnson immigrated to Worcester, Massachusetts in 1863, at the height of the American Civil War, a period when his skills as a gunsmith were in demand.
In 1871, Iver Johnson joined Martin Bye, another gunsmith, and the two formed Johnson Bye & Company. In 1883, Johnson purchased Bye’s interest in the company, and the new Iver Johnson & Company began manufacturing bicycles. In 1891, the company’s name changed yet again, to Iver Johnson’s Arms & Cycle Works, and the company relocated to Fitchburg, MA.
Iver Johnson died in 1895, and his sons took over the business. The sons converted the business to motorcycle manufacturing and sales in 1907, but in 1916, the market for weapons to take over the business of motorcycle sales, so in 1916, the company turned their attention to the manufacture of firearms and tools.
Interesting fact: Both President William McKinley, and Presidential candidate U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy were killed by Iver Johnson revolvers
Motorcyclepedia features a 1915 Iver Johnson motorcycle on display – this motorcycle is from the final year of manufacture of Iver Johnson motorcycles. Our 1915 Iver Johnson has never been started, nor has it been ridden.