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  1. #1
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    Antique Bicycle, Need Help With Brand And Date

    Hi,

    I recently acquired several old bikes and parts in a lot, along with some other riding items. I am lost as to identification! I never thought that there would be something I couldn't find on the internet! LOL! The bike that I am starting research on is the oldest. It has a badge, identifying it as a Crystal Cycle Co. bike. I have searched everywhere but there is nothing on this bike out there! I am hoping that someone here can help me.

    It is an old 3 speed(?) boys bike, in surprisingly solid shape with wood rims and one wooden handgrip. The shifter is made by Sturmey Archer so I am guessing it was made after the turn of the century. I don't see any other information on the bike.

    I have some photos here, the bike I am looking for information on is on the second page, but any information about any of this stuff would be great!

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...7&l=948c2f1a4c

    Thanks!
    Kathleen

  2. #2
    rhm
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    Kathleen, clean up the rear hub and tell us any markings on it. Photos might help. It will doubtless say Sturmey Archer, maybe some patent numbers, etc. Most important are the model --AW is the most common; and you should also find a date, which will be two or three digits.

    The shifter is an early one --before 1948, as far as I can tell. Again, a better photo might help.

    The bike does indeed look old-- maybe older than the Sturmey Archer hub that's on it.

  3. #3
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    Thanks RHM! I'm on my way out with paper towels, magnifying glasses and a camera!

    Kathleen

  4. #4
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    It's an American bike from before WWII - evidenced by the ashtabula crank and skip-tooth chainring. I haven't ever seen a skip-tooth Sturmey, but am pretty sure that a Sachs was skip-tooth. Very cool bike, regardless!
    1951 Raleigh Lenton Sports
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    Hi Again!

    Ok, I am not sure what I am doing, but....I did clean off a part of the hub that I could see had writing on it. I didn't want to break the spokes so I used a toothbrush with a little brasso on it, and could make out what was written.
    It says-

    S
    Sturmey-Archer
    TRICOASTER
    (patented)


    I didn't see any dates or numbers....would they be in another area of the hub? I will try to get photos as soon as my battery charges but I don't think my camera has the capacity to get such difficult pics!
    I hope that helps, and thanks so much!

    Kathleen

  6. #6
    rhm
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    Hmm. I'm not familiar with an "S" hub. Here's the standard reference on Sturmey Archer hubs; but no S hub there either.

    Brasso on a tooth brush, that's a good idea. Looking forward to more photos!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket98 View Post
    Hi Again!

    Ok, I am not sure what I am doing, but....I did clean off a part of the hub that I could see had writing on it. I didn't want to break the spokes so I used a toothbrush with a little brasso on it, and could make out what was written.
    It says-

    S
    Sturmey-Archer
    TRICOASTER
    (patented)


    I didn't see any dates or numbers....would they be in another area of the hub? I will try to get photos as soon as my battery charges but I don't think my camera has the capacity to get such difficult pics!
    I hope that helps, and thanks so much!

    Kathleen
    1905 Type C
    1907 Type N
    1914 Type FN
    1922 Type KC
    1952 Type TCW
    1970 Type S3C

    http://www.sturmey-archerheritage.co...p?page=history

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    I was reading that history site, too! So the bike is a mystery and so is the hub? Hmmm...

    I am guessing that it is in the 1910 range, going by the shifters shown in some of the literature. But that is just a novice guess...I would love to narrow it down!

    I took some more photos, they are not award winning! But hopefully you can see a bit more of the bike parts. Please look at page two and three, that is where the new photos are. Let me know if I can take pics of anything else that might help.

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...7&l=948c2f1a4c

    Thanks!!!!

  9. #9
    perpetually frazzled mickey85's Avatar
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    Kathleen, you wouldn't happen to own an Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight, would you?
    1951 Raleigh Lenton Sports
    1967 Phillips Sports
    1974 Peugeot UO-8 fixed gear
    1978 Raleigh Super Course
    1981 Schwinn LeTour
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  10. #10
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    What are the numbers or letters under where it says "tricoaster" on the hub. If this is a patent number or something, it could help you ID the model.

    Tried google maps streetview on the address. Doesn't seem that the exact building is there ... unless it's the diagonally positioned one with the gate that has been remade into condos (what historic chicago building hasn't?).

    You might try contacting the Chicago Public Library and see if there is a historic business registry, phone book (depending on the year), or mentions in a newspaper. ID-ing the hub would help you know what time to look.

  11. #11
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    Is it your intention to sell it? I like it. I think it has possibilities, not as an antique, museum piece but as a restoration project, although, the corrosion (seen and unseen) causes me serious concern about its viability as a bike to be riden.

    I would say to you, get it indoors to arrest any further deterioration.

  12. #12
    rhm
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    Check this out!

    “In 1914, with war looming, the Sturmey-Archer factory turned to making armaments and an agreement was signed with Sears Roebuck USA, to allow them use of Sturmey-Archer’s US patents. Sears paid 500 pounds and a royalty on each hub produced. The USA produced hubs were branded type “S” but were identical to the type F hub produced in England.”

    So, presumably, the hub --and the whole bike-- dates to 1914 - 1920. Pretty **** cool!
    Last edited by rhm; 07-29-10 at 12:58 PM.

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    Mickey- YES! I do have a 1955 Olds Holiday 98! I am a sucker for old things, and buy and sell a lot, but this is my baby and has been in the family for a long time now!!! I forgot that was my title and thought you must be a neighbor! LOL!

    Roll- Under the word Tricoaster is the word "patented" in parenthesis, no number that I have seen yet. I will go out and try another round of cleaning, but I sure don't see anything else on there, even with my trusty magnifying glasses.

    I also checked Google Maps! LOL! I don't think the address is there, but it is clearly an old neighborhood. I wonder if I can get any info from the library, it's worth a try! But wow...is it common for bikes to be so obscure? I always thought they were well documented, but leave it to me to find the only one with no history...I have a seemingly one of a kind television from the 50's, too! I will want to sell this bike eventually, if my husband doesn't fall too in love and if I can get some kind of value on it....do you guys think I should leave it exactly as it is? Or is it a restoration project?

    Would it do any good to ask in the what is my bike worth section?

    Again, many thanks!!
    Kathleen

  14. #14
    perpetually frazzled mickey85's Avatar
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    Freakin' sweet. I'm an Oldsmobile nut myself - and I'm in LOVE with the 55-57 88's and 98's! If you are interested, check out www.realoldspower.com. It's mostly race info and such, but it's a big bunch of people that are nuts about Rockets. If you go, over there I'm shorty mac 83.
    1951 Raleigh Lenton Sports
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket98 View Post
    Roll- Under the word Tricoaster is the word "patented" in parenthesis, no number that I have seen yet. I will go out and try another round of cleaning, but I sure don't see anything else on there, even with my trusty magnifying glasses.
    Looks like RHM solved this.

  16. #16
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    RHM! Wow!!!! Great job!!! Thanks a million! That is it....although...is that the natural metal finish? Yikes, this one won't go back to that kind of shine! It wasn't chrome, was it? I am so glad we have a time line now, thanks!!!!!! Ok, now go find the Crystal Cycle Co.!!!! LOL! ;-D

    Mike- Yes, sorry I wrote the other reply before I saw your question. I will probably be selling this and all the other bike items I got in this lot. My hubby loves this bike, so it will be interesting! I have to sell these items, though.
    I want to find out as much as I can about it before I sell it, and try to come up with a value. It seems like it could be anywhere on the spectrum of value of restoration quality antique bikes, and that seems very broad. Or, there is ebay...I guess...although I don't want to ship something so big and old! I'm not sure if I should discuss the sales part here, though. Don't want to put my foot in it the first time here, with such nice and helpful people!!!

    It is indoors now, I brought it in when I saw that it had wood rims. It seems very solid, in fact we were discussing that it almost seems to be made out of cast iron! But I sure don't know what makes a bike fragile internally or structurally.

    Thank!
    Kathleen

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket98 View Post
    I also checked Google Maps! LOL! I don't think the address is there, but it is clearly an old neighborhood. I wonder if I can get any info from the library, it's worth a try! But wow...is it common for bikes to be so obscure? I always thought they were well documented, but leave it to me to find the only one with no history...I have a seemingly one of a kind television from the 50's, too! I will want to sell this bike eventually, if my husband doesn't fall too in love and if I can get some kind of value on it....do you guys think I should leave it exactly as it is? Or is it a restoration project?

    Would it do any good to ask in the what is my bike worth section?
    You could try, but since no one (so far) recognizes the brand, it's tougher. There are probably no crystal collectors here. Maybe some people know about what bikes of this era in this condition go for. Also try the forum at oldroads.com.

    There was a time in US history of great industrial foment, with lots of stuff going on. Lots of people making bikes. I guess we still have that, just not so much with bikes (except maybe custom builders).

  18. #18
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket98 View Post
    Would it do any good to ask in the what is my bike worth section?
    Probably not. As you can see, this has been an education for everyone who's posted so far. I, for one, have never seen any Sturmey Archer hub this old. On this site we rarely see anything earlier than 1935 or so. Aside from that, your bike is in pretty deplorable condition. I'm sure it's rare, and highly desirable to someone; but I can't speculate what such a person would be willing to pay for it. If you happen to find two such people at the same time, who knows?

    Ebay, or Copake, are my only suggestions.

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    Thanks, Micky, I will check that Olds forum out for sure!

    I can see where you guys are coming from, RHM and Roll. It does indeed look like there were lots and lots of early bike manufacturers. This kind of thing is what I love, it almost doesn't matter what kind of old object it is, I love to learn about them and the history behind them.

    I have restored a lot of old things, I was in the antique doll business for 30 years, doing restoration. I restore old statuary, furniture, etc. I have a love of old radios, tvs, and books.

    I originally found these bikes and parts because I have restored a couple of old tricycles for my daughter's photography studio. I originally just wanted another old trike, and happened across a huge hoard of tricycles and parts. The bikes were among this lot, but I couldn't swing the price of the trikes, as they are pretty difficult to find homes for, particularly old wheels...of which there were hundreds. In the end, I couldn't resist the bikes and horse, so I made a deal for all of it. I can't really keep any of it, except the tricycles that were my original intention!

    I think this bike is awesome, and I love that it is a real antique. But I feel it is out of my league for restoration, and don't want to do it a disservice by doing much more than a good cleaning. Yes, it is pretty rough! But I am very surprised that it has it's shifter, cable, etc. It does need a replacement pedal, which I imagine will have to be a period item. It would be great fun to make it beautiful again, and I am sure there is someone out there that can do it....but that isn't me!

    You guys are great, I only wish it was so much fun to research all the things I run across!

    Kathleen

  20. #20
    rhm
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    I don't suppose the missing pedal is in that box of stuff, is it?

    You're right to leave restoration --and all the thorny decisions that go with it-- to the final purchaser. There are so many dilemmas in a project like this, there is no way you can anticipate what the ideal buyer would want. Like, what do you do with those tires? I sure wouldn't know.

    But do let us know what you eventually do with it, and what you get for it, okay? Maybe next time we'll be able to tell someone what it's really worth.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    But do let us know what you eventually do with it, and what you get for it, okay? Maybe next time we'll be able to tell someone what it's really worth.
    Better still, let us know how we can get in on the sale - where it's posted, when bids are due, terms of sale, shipping options,...

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    You could go to this site & see if they can help identify.

    http://www.nbhaa.com/

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    Thanks guys!

    I had a look through all the boxes and no pedal. :-( I was sure it wouldn't be there but I hoped! I found an awful lot of cool bike pieces though, I wish they came with ID tags!
    I will probably just wash the bugs off them and put them on Ebay and let people who know what they are looking at decide the price.

    Esteban, I checked out that website, thanks! Unfortunatly it looks like it was abandoned a couple years ago. :-(

    I will for sure let you guys know what happens with this bike, I think that it is really cool that we could all learn a bit more from it. And, if you guys run into someone who might be able to give any info on the company, I sure would love to hear about it! My email is 98rocket@gmail.com, so please don't hesitate to send me a message!

    In the mean time, I would like to ID perhaps some of these other bikes, so I will take pics and make a new post soon! Thanks a million!

    Kathleen

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    If you don't mind too much, perhaps we can take this thread off on a slightly different but related tangent.

    How does one conserve/restore this bike?

    Whether the OP & her hubby retain the bike or it goes to a new owner , this would be interesting and important info.

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    I love that idea, Mike. I was actually just sitting here thinking of what someone would/could do to improve it or just keep the ravages of time from working their magic a while longer.

    In particular I am thinking about the wood rims. There is a great deal of paint left...would it be a good idea to remove the paint and sand or oil the rims to protect the wood? It has to be dry as a bone by now. I am guessing the paint needs to be stripped, and I would love to find a good example of this bike if JUST to repaint the tiny floral pattern that was on it. The metal parts? What would be correct to help/clean/restore those? Not that I will probably even touch this one at all....

    ...... but I'm "going up the hill" and bring down the sacrificial girls bike soon.... :-) I can't hurt that one.

    Yes, please give opinions!

    Kathleen

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