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  1. #1
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    1950 Claude Butler 3 speed Sports. Help please... Pics

    Just found this old Claude Butler 3 speed Sports machine.
    Looks very nice but not sure how original it is.
    Brooks Champion saddle, hub date 1950, have a look.


    4 Speed changer is not original I think.
    Neither are the brake levers.



    Headstock looks interesting though.



    Any ideas, help, information, opinions much appreciated.

  2. #2
    CroMosexual purevl's Avatar
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    Well Viscount, you've convinced me, I'm moving to England some day. You find more interesting bikes than anyone else in C&V.
    If wanting fair bike prices makes me a leftist I don't wanna be right.

  3. #3
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    It's a fake... send it it me for disposal.

  4. #4
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    What's that bolt about halfway down the right fork?
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    It is a light mount.

  6. #6
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    Interesting find, Viscount! That headset design for a stem without a wedge bolt was likely gone by the mid 1950s, I believe (my Raleigh Clubman and RRA have it). What does the rear hub say?

    Neal

  7. #7
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    The wingnut thats drilled for the shifter chain is wicked cool!
    I have spoken.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Oldpeddaller's Avatar
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    Well Viscount, you've done it again - another fine find - and one of my favourite marques. Maybe you and I should go on a bike hunt together, I could use some of your skill and luck!

    I believe this frame may have been refinished in the 1970's. 1950's models had the maker's name on the down-tube in the style of a script - type "signature". The gothic style block characters were introduced very late 1960's and 70's. Also the name transfers are too high up the down-tube. they would have been factory applied to start about 4 inches above the bottom of the pump. However, this doesn't detract from what is clearly a 1950's model in super condition. The fork rake, pump pegs and lack of derailleur braze-ons all show this. The 4 speed trigger MAY be original, SA supplied these for all 3 & 4 speed hubs for a few years around then. Agree that the brake levers aren't - but they are better than the old "GB" or similar that were most likely fitted to start with - with narrow tops, no real hoods and almost straight levers. Once again, well done - it's a splendid example.
    Oldpeddaller - The older I get, the better I used to be !!!" ***** If at first you don't succeed - hit it with a hammer.

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  9. #9
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldpeddaller View Post
    Well Viscount, you've done it again - another fine find - and one of my favourite marques. Maybe you and I should go on a bike hunt together, I could use some of your skill and luck!

    I believe this frame may have been refinished in the 1970's. 1950's models had the maker's name on the down-tube in the style of a script - type "signature". The gothic style block characters were introduced very late 1960's and 70's. Also the name transfers are too high up the down-tube. they would have been factory applied to start about 4 inches above the bottom of the pump. However, this doesn't detract from what is clearly a 1950's model in super condition. The fork rake, pump pegs and lack of derailleur braze-ons all show this. The 4 speed trigger MAY be original, SA supplied these for all 3 & 4 speed hubs for a few years around then. Agree that the brake levers aren't - but they are better than the old "GB" or similar that were most likely fitted to start with - with narrow tops, no real hoods and almost straight levers. Once again, well done - it's a splendid example.
    Yes, I agree with your analysis, it's been modified/upgraded at some point, but still a very nice machine deserving of some care and attention.
    The 4 speed trigger may well be original, but I have a 3/4 speed period one lying around somewhere.

    I keep finding these machines that I know nothing about but just have a 'feeling' that they are worth taking a chance on. Along with this came another mystery that has very nice filed lugs that I know is a good prospect but right now know nothing about. I'm talking about this afternoon so not had time yet to investigate either properly.
    It's manic but good fun!

    The 3 speed must be original. Murky photo, but clear enough to see the essentials.


    And I think the head-badge must be the deciding factor.



    Here's a couple of photos of the mystery machine.


    Thick paint does not hide the detail.

    The chain-wheel is distinctive and looks original.



    Was thinking Holdsworth but probably wrong.


  10. #10
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    I believe those are bilaminate lugs on the mystery machine. CB featured those, but I don't know about Holdsworth. And is that an AM hub on the CB? It's hard to make it out. The 1949 catalog is online here.

    Neal

  11. #11
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
    I believe those are bilaminate lugs on the mystery machine. CB featured those, but I don't know about Holdsworth. And is that an AM hub on the CB? It's hard to make it out. The 1949 catalog is online here.

    Neal
    Hub is an AM dated 1950.
    Poor photo I know, but I bought it and left it there after taking some photos.
    Just got no room here right now.

    Many thanks for the link, I'm looking shortly.
    If I don't fall asleep first.
    Had a long day....

    I thought the fork crowns were similar to my Holdsworth La Quelda, but on closer examination realised that it was only a superficial resemblance

  12. #12
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    That paint is like sludge...still, it does not hide the beauty of the lugs.

    Waiting to see it nicely cleaned up, Viscount!

    East Hill
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Oldpeddaller's Avatar
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    Viscount, I wouldn't be surprised if the green mystery machine wasn't another old Claud Butler with Bi-laminate lugs (invented after the Second World war when Italian & French lugs were scarce and an absolutely brilliant way to join tubes). The rear drop outs remind me of a Claud Butler I was once given - it was already really old in 1968! Too big for me, so I passed it on to my best mate, who used it as his "club racing" machine. He actually went to live and race in Belgium a couple of years later and that was the last I saw of him and his Claud! That one was smooth brazed though, not bi laminate lugged - for a while, Claud Butler offered a choice. You are one awesome classic bike finder!
    Oldpeddaller - The older I get, the better I used to be !!!" ***** If at first you don't succeed - hit it with a hammer.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
    I believe those are bilaminate lugs on the mystery machine. CB featured those, but I don't know about Holdsworth. And is that an AM hub on the CB? It's hard to make it out. The 1949 catalog is online here.

    Neal
    Check out the Polo bike on page 6. I wonder how many of those are still around?

  15. #15
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldpeddaller View Post
    Viscount, I wouldn't be surprised if the green mystery machine wasn't another old Claud Butler with Bi-laminate lugs (invented after the Second World war when Italian & French lugs were scarce and an absolutely brilliant way to join tubes). The rear drop outs remind me of a Claud Butler I was once given - it was already really old in 1968! Too big for me, so I passed it on to my best mate, who used it as his "club racing" machine. He actually went to live and race in Belgium a couple of years later and that was the last I saw of him and his Claud! That one was smooth brazed though, not bi laminate lugged - for a while, Claud Butler offered a choice. You are one awesome classic bike finder!
    I don't know enough to comment sensibly about Claude Butlers, but if the mystery one is another CB then I will be very happy about that
    I do need to spend a bit of time researching CBs when I get the time, but it's great to hear other peoples opinions here first.
    And I hope it makes interesting threads for C+V at the same time.
    Often I come across these unknown (to me) machines and it's great fun to find you have your feelings of a 'good machine' justified eventually.
    Not had many 'wrong uns' yet!

  16. #16
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by East Hill View Post
    That paint is like sludge...still, it does not hide the beauty of the lugs.

    Waiting to see it nicely cleaned up, Viscount!

    East Hill
    Just watch this space then.
    When I've got the room here it/they will be getting the treatment

  17. #17
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
    I believe those are bilaminate lugs on the mystery machine. CB featured those, but I don't know about Holdsworth. And is that an AM hub on the CB? It's hard to make it out. The 1949 catalog is online here.

    Neal
    Thanks for the link Neal.
    Looked at the catalogue, + more, but can't find any close matches.
    Not sure what you mean by the bilaminate lugs.
    They look standard to me but maybe I'm missing something.

    I stripped it down last night and have some more photos now.
    The serial number is 19588 stamped on the drive side drop-out.
    No others visible until I get the paint off.

    Nearest has been filed at the rear by the looks.

    The fork crown looks to be distinctive to me but haven't yet found the match.


    Front drop-outs are 95mm.

    Rear 115mm.

    Lastly a pic of the Brooks B37 off of the silver Claude Butler for BJ
    In need of a feed by the looks of it.


  18. #18
    hi YoKev's Avatar
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    That Claude Butler is some nice British steel! I especially like looking at the bikes that look to be my size...I close my eyes and start riding

    If you ever decide it needs to go to a new home, keep me in mind.
    Last edited by YoKev; 09-27-08 at 04:32 PM.

  19. #19
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    V, my understanding of bi-laminate is that the tubes are joined by fillet brazing, but that what looks like lugs are essentially decorative sleeves.

    Neal

  20. #20
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
    V, my understanding of bi-laminate is that the tubes are joined by fillet brazing, but that what looks like lugs are essentially decorative sleeves.

    Neal
    I get it now!
    When I get the paint off it'll be obvious I guess.
    Might be a nice vintage tourer there under all that paint.

  21. #21
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Now I got the paint off (mostly) it seems to me that the lugs are not bilaminates but ordinary lugs just filed down. Triggering a radical re-think about it.
    Here is a pic of the lugs and fork crown denuded of the paint:
    What do you think?

    I think it is a nice period tourer frame.
    Maybe a small maker but still of interest.
    The fork crowns are distinctive, even if I don't know what they are, yet.
    Last edited by viscount; 10-22-08 at 12:02 PM. Reason: tpoy!

  22. #22
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    V, I'm still voting for bilaminate lugs. Those lugs are too thin! As far as the fork crown, my '48 Claud Butler has a similar crown, as does my 60s Falcon. You can sort see the crown in my CB pic below.

    Neal


  23. #23
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    I thought that when I got to see the 'lug' without the paint I'd see a joint.
    Am I missing something obvious here?

    Anyway was just looking at your CB.
    Very nice!
    That fork crown looks similar, but yours looks to have D to round whereas mine has round to round.
    Which suggests older to me.
    I'm hoping mine is a CB but won't be disappointed if it's something else.
    It's as well made as I would expect a CB to be.
    No rivet holes in the head-tube, so it came with transfers originally.

    I now know the reason it had thick paint.
    It has some surface pitting and there is a (filled) dent in the top-tube.
    Still, it'll get a repaint and that lining on yours looks to be the way to go!

  24. #24
    Senior Member Oldpeddaller's Avatar
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    From "Classic Rendezvous" - In the late thirties Claud Butler began to experiment with bronze-welded construction without the use of the usual proprietary lug castings. This was a technique used by continental frame builders that had been taken up by one or two English marques. It was a construction method that would become a feature of the Claud Butler range. Lugless ‘welded’ frames were often regarded as an inferior alternative to lugged ‘brazed’ frames, as the lugless frames demanded less labour. By 1948 the ‘Avant Coureur’, a model using 'Bilaminated' construction had been introduced. This consisted of decorative sleeves pressed from flat-sheet steel being applied in place of lugs, and necessitated a mixture of bronze-welding and capillary-brazing techniques to produce distinctive and ornate 'faux-lug' designs. Not only was this construction method aesthetically pleasing, it was also superior in strength to the established methods of joining lightweight steel tubing. It also saved labour and avoided the necessity for lug castings which were sometimes difficult to obtain during a time when British industry was forced to concentrate on export trade.

    I've never seen bi-laminated lugs "in the nude" (no paint), but with the level of craftsmanship of the OLDER Claud Butler frames, I wouldn't expect any join to show. As Neal says, the lugs on your frame are incredibly thin, so they may well be bi-lam. Interested to see what you find out.
    Oldpeddaller - The older I get, the better I used to be !!!" ***** If at first you don't succeed - hit it with a hammer.

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  25. #25
    Viscount viscount's Avatar
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    Interesting to read the above!
    Close inspection of the 'lugs' reveals no sign of joints but I guess I have to concede that they are too flimsy to be conventional lugs.
    The workmanship is definitely of a high order.

    I wrote to the CB Marque Enthusiast yesterday so I'm hoping for some positive information from there.
    The bilaminates do narrow down the list of possibilities conveniently in any case.
    CB Ephgrave and Paris seem to be the only English users of this technique and the balance of probability is that it is a CB.

    There is also indication that there was a top-tube clamp around where you would expect the quadrant type 3 speed changer to be.
    Also, just to confuse things further, there is another on the down-tube where band on levers would be!
    Weight of the frame/forks and BB is close to 7lbs.
    More pics of the unpainted lugs are here:
    http://s53.photobucket.com/albums/g58/duktig/

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