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Old 05-01-12, 07:24 AM   #1
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What do you know about "black-out" bikes?

I've seen examples of bikes from the 20-40's enameled black, some factory finished others layered up with black paint. Was this only due to metals rationing during the war or were chrome and nickel parts painted black at that time also?

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Old 05-01-12, 07:30 AM   #2
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There weren't many colors back then to choose from, or do you mean the normally chrome components being black paint?
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Old 05-01-12, 07:36 AM   #3
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"Well, I think it looks like death. It looks like mourning."
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Old 05-01-12, 07:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
There weren't many colors back then
Ohhh....that's why all the pictures are in black and white!

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"Well, I think it looks like death. It looks like mourning."
I'll give you 1/2 credit...mourning yes, but death is more a purple gray

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or do you mean the normally chrome components being black paint?
Ding..you are correct sir!
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Old 05-01-12, 07:44 AM   #5
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Chrome was painted to avoid reflections at night. Theory being a German pilot might see it and use it for an aiming point.
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Old 05-01-12, 07:49 AM   #6
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I think they even blacked out the end of the fenders during the war (normally painted white).
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Old 05-01-12, 07:55 AM   #7
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I can add a few points here.

They say that during the war, some materials, such as chrome, were saved for more important uses; makes sense, based on what I've seen, but what do I know.

Around that time there definitely were black painted components and also metal components given a black rust preventative finish sometimes called "bonderized." I have a 1948 SA AW hub that has black parts where later ones have silver colored parts. I'm not really sure what "bonderized" really means but there is a fairly simple process in which a part is coated with linseed oil and then heated until the oil burns off, leaving a black coating that resists rust well; and this is sometimes (rightly or wrongly) called bonderized.

There was also a fashion for black components. Bike catalogs from the 30s, which are occasionally posted here when someone is trying to identify an old Dawes or Armstrong or the like, often mention black spokes and the like.

Handlebars with a black celluloid coating have appeared on ebay several times in recent years, and these appeared to be truly pre-war, so not the result of wartime chrome scarcity.

And finally, there was an interesting crank on ebay not long ago, which someone had machined down to lighten it; he had cut a flute into both sides and thinned the arms considerably. The resulting crank was very slender and elegant but had no chrome finish; so he'd painted it. This was apparently a pre-war practice.
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Old 05-01-12, 08:06 AM   #8
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There was also a fashion for black components. Bike catalogs from the 30s, which are occasionally posted here when someone is trying to identify an old Dawes or Armstrong or the like, often mention black spokes and the like.
Pre-war hipsters.

Jokes aside, RHM pretty much has covered everything that the fellows on the Oldroads.com forums said about blackout parts when the topic came up a few years ago.

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Old 05-01-12, 08:11 AM   #9
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I agree!! I think it was most likely the sparing of chroming for the war effort and to some extent the reflection idea.

Actually once I learned here what a "White Tail" was I assumed they were done during the war so cyclist more more visable to drivers using 'blackout lights'
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Old 05-01-12, 08:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velognome View Post
Ohhh....that's why all the pictures are in black and white!
Uh, there's a Calvin & Hobbs strip where Calvin asks dad about B&W photos and dad replies that before the invention of color TV the whole world was black and white. It would take me a few hours to find it so I could quote accurately though so this pale description will have to do.
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Old 05-01-12, 08:18 AM   #11
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The part about chroming is right from what I know. An example: Chevrolet trucks had the same body style from 1941 until 1947. The 1941 models had a chrome grille. War years, they came with painted grilles. The chrome grilles then showed up after the war again.
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Old 05-01-12, 08:19 AM   #12
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I always heard of the reflection theory but never actually read of people being taken out on their bicycles from pilots. That'd be a pretty good shot if it did happen.
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Old 05-01-12, 08:33 AM   #13
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great pic!
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Old 05-01-12, 08:34 AM   #14
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I always heard of the reflection theory but never actually read of people being taken out on their bicycles from pilots. That'd be a pretty good shot if it did happen.
I don't think a pilot would snipe indivual cyclist but a grop of twinkling lights might make a tempting target for a quick straffing run.
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Old 05-01-12, 08:50 AM   #15
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Thanks for the input, anyone got the link to the Oldroads postings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Velognome
Ohhh....that's why all the pictures are in black and white!

Jimmuller
Uh, there's a Calvin & Hobbs strip where Calvin asks dad about B&W photos and dad replies that before the invention of color TV the whole world was black and white. It would take me a few hours to find it so I could quote accurately though so this pale description will have to do.
That was the impulse for the comment...I love Calvin & Hobbs

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rhm Handlebars with a black celluloid coating have appeared on ebay several times in recent years, and these appeared to be truly pre-war, so not the result of wartime chrome scarcity.
Yep, both Balck and White celluliod. I picked up these Mae's bars in Black Cellilod that came with a pre-war stem, painted black. No chrome or nickel under the paint so either war-time or black was the look at the time


Thanks all! I'm getting ready to build up a '23 Rudge Loop frame with some modern 3 spd. components. Everytime I get ready to paint the SA Drum Brake Hubs black, I get second thoughts.......I feel better now, I'm doin it! Now, the only decision is whether to spray and be neat or brush it on for that "found in an English garage" look?
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Old 05-01-12, 09:59 AM   #16
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I'm thinking Cannondale Black Lightning would have been at home in those days.
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Old 05-01-12, 11:13 AM   #17
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great pic!
What movie?
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Old 05-01-12, 11:28 AM   #18
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That's Cate Blanchett in The Good German: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0452624
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Old 05-01-12, 03:21 PM   #19
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Nice subject. I got me one of those a while back. A Simplex from the 1940's (I think). It definitely needs work, but I'm looking forward to riding it.
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Old 05-01-12, 03:57 PM   #20
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Amazing photo. It's a bit disappointing to see that it was taken recently. And to boot, it's a non-drive side shot!
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Old 05-01-12, 04:10 PM   #21
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Amazing photo. It's a bit disappointing to see that it was taken recently. And to boot, it's a non-drive side shot!
I agree, I thought maybe Velognome had taken it just before he stormed the beaches at Normandy.
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Old 05-01-12, 04:21 PM   #22
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Uh, there's a Calvin & Hobbs strip where Calvin asks dad about B&W photos and dad replies that before the invention of color TV the whole world was black and white. It would take me a few hours to find it so I could quote accurately though so this pale description will have to do.
not using google it wouldn't:
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Old 05-01-12, 04:39 PM   #23
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Old 05-01-12, 05:05 PM   #24
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I found this;

tucked into these handlebars;

I haven't had the chutzpah to pull these grips off yet;

The hub is some sort of baked enamel;

The headset is "Parkerized". Looks a lot like gunblueing but that's all I know about it;

I guess there were still some chrome cranks lying about;

The headbadge is enameled;

There's still a white tai, and there was still plenty of time for some proper box liningl;

Oh, and India rubber tires with a little black on the outside;
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Old 05-01-12, 05:06 PM   #25
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Here's a little propaganda for the war effort;

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