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  1. #1
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Help ID Antique Fixie

    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.








    Bob
    Dreaming of Summertime in NH!

    Visit my websites:
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Snordalisk's Avatar
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    I can't tell you anything about it, except that I think it's beautiful.

    Awesome find.

  3. #3
    \,,/(^_^)\,,/ new_dharma's Avatar
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    the skirt-guard seems to be all there, too!
    You know you're getting old when you look at a beautiful 19-year-old girl and you find yourself thinking, "Gee, I wonder what her mother looks like?"

  4. #4
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    It's an early "safety". Many were used by women who couldn't or wouldn't ride high wheelers. Men laughed at them, until the little ladies began out riding them on their vastly superior designed bikes. It's older than late 1890's. Could be from the mid to late 1880's. It's very primitive too, from before bikes were really standardized. In the late 1890's many bikes looked a lot like what we rode just a few years ago.
    There were thousands of manufacturers during those years, and it could have been made by anyone. Do not paint it! Do not remove any parts. It's collectable, and possibly valuable.

  5. #5
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    Gotta be 1880's because it is built with the same technology used to build high wheek bicycles. In the
    90's they began using brazed up tubes and lugs similar to what we all know and love. It's a great find.

  6. #6
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    quite a find, with as said, possible significant value, any evidence of a missing headbadge? A bike for a proper lady.

    I would ask Larry Black, Mt Airy bicycles I think. Could also reference Copake auction history for other examples.

  7. #7
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    Bob, I'll bet somebody at the Smithsonian might be able to identify it, or at least narrow it down. The frame details are pretty distinctive.

    What a treasure!
    - Stan

  8. #8
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by repechage
    quite a find, with as said, possible significant value, any evidence of a missing headbadge? A bike for a proper lady.

    I would ask Larry Black, Mt Airy bicycles I think. Could also reference Copake auction history for other examples.
    It's possible it had a headbadge. There is some blemish in that area but no evidence of any threaded holes for screws.

    1880s !!!! I can't believe some fool would toss that bike on the scrap metal heap. It was bad enough that I found the Hercules there, but a 120+/- year old bike!
    Bob
    Dreaming of Summertime in NH!

    Visit my websites:
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  9. #9
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    I am in awe. Maybe I should put fork pegs on my fixie for coasting....
    1 Super Record bike, 1 Nuovo Record bike, 1 Pista, 1 Road, 1 Cyclocross/Allrounder, 1 MTB, 1 Touring, 1 Fixed gear

  10. #10
    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    Wheels offset radial laced? And with hub mounted nipples? That's some modern tech there!

  11. #11
    don't be so angry clancy98's Avatar
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    i know they said dont touch it, but you would be the coolest person evar riding that down the street resto'd.
    Irregardless is not a word, and you do not sound more intelligent using it.

  12. #12
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clancy98
    i know they said dont touch it, but you would be the coolest person evar riding that down the street resto'd.
    I am certain--- I wouldn't fit on this bike. It's Easthill's size. But probably a little heavy for her liking.
    Bob
    Dreaming of Summertime in NH!

    Visit my websites:
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  13. #13
    Senior Member mattface's Avatar
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    wowie zowie!

    that's all I have to say

  14. #14
    sharkfin. babychris's Avatar
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    oh my, that is an awesome find.

  15. #15
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    These people might be able to help ID it:
    www.oldspokeshome.com

  16. #16
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    Total gaspipe. Or whaleoil pipe, as the case may be.

    And who would put a BMX chaintensioner on a track end?

    jim

  17. #17
    hunter, gatherer coelcanth's Avatar
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    very cool..

    i think the chain among other things would date this safety bike as pretty early, before 1/8" bushing chain (patent 1880) became standarized... also perhaps it was made before pneumatic tires (1888) were de rigueur..

    i think safety bikes first started showing up in the mid 1880s so i'd say anywhere from there to the mid 1890s...

    try getting in touch with some guys from the wheelmen.. they specialize in the early stuff.. try their message board @
    http://www.thewheelmen.org/forum/default.asp

  18. #18
    shaken, not stirred. gnome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
    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.
    I don't know exactly how old it is but what a find. The block chain and radially laced hubs mean that it is a very early saftey bike.

    I want it but I live on the wrong side of the world.

    Hopefully you find out what type of saddle and handle bars it might have had. It would make a wonderfull restoration. Just imagine turning up to your next ride on it.
    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. ~Mark Twain, "Taming the Bicycle"
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  19. #19
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the comments and helpful links. I'll do more research and post what I find and what I end up doing.
    Bob
    Dreaming of Summertime in NH!

    Visit my websites:
    FreeWheelSpa.com orpastorbobnlnh.com

  20. #20
    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    That's an eye opener!? Whoa!! I can't imagine where it could have come from, that the owner didn't notice SOMETHING was unusual about it. Like I've said before, to some people, it's just an old bike. No matter how antique, or nicely made, or historic they might be. They see a little rust, or it's unusable, and it gets thrown out. I imagine this one came from a spring cleaning at an old barn, or someplace similar. NICE find!,,,,,BD
    "Whale. Oil. Beef. Hooked!" The Rumjacks

  21. #21
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    Can't tell from the rim profile but there looks to be too much frame clearance for solid tyres, possibly cushion tyres but probably very early pneumatics. I'm not familiar with American cycles though.

    It is good to see a bike that actually belongs in a vintage forum.

  22. #22
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LWaB
    Can't tell from the rim profile but there looks to be too much frame clearance for solid tyres, possibly cushion tyres but probably very early pneumatics. I'm not familiar with American cycles though.

    It is good to see a bike that actually belongs in a vintage forum.
    Thanks for your observation. My guess is pneumatics because there is a valve stem hole in each rim--- a big valve stem hole. It shows in one picture above, but here is a closeup. Notice the nippleless spokes.
    Bob
    Dreaming of Summertime in NH!

    Visit my websites:
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  23. #23
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    That was a five dollar bike new. It'll make good re-bar for a cement patio,it's new home,back in the ground.

  24. #24
    Nut infinityeye's Avatar
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    I'd guess it's worth 15K to 20k in its current condition. Mana from Heaven, and you deserve it!

    Dump find of the Century!

  25. #25
    FalconLvr
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    Could be an Antiques Roadshow item!

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