Well, first there was the '80 Raleigh Sports. Then there was the '71 Varsity. That was followed by the '40s or '50s Hercules. Now the local dump has deposited upon my doorstep a truly ancient mystery.
I believe this bike might be as old as the late 1890s, but I'm uncertain. This is just a guess based on pictures from the book Bicycle, by David V. Herlihy. This is what I can tell you: It has no saddle nor handlebars. No tires. No brakes. It is a fixed gear. One link in the chain has the number "797" stamped on it. There are no other marks on the bike except the number "101797" (although the 9 might be an 8) in the frame/headtube near the lower headset. Looking at the interesting radial spoke pattern shows most of the nipples on the hub, not at the rim, which I believe are designed for tubular tires (there are a few nipples next to the rim but I imagine these are replacements). Notice the foot rests on the front fork and the broken lacing on the chain guard. Another foot rest is on the frame near the left rear dropout. And finally notice the "drillium" on the BB. I haven't weighed it, but I imagine it tips 50+ lbs.
So, your guess is as good as mine. Any ideas? Know who I should contact? I'll be looking for a caring new home for this mystery so it's up for trade or other deal.