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Vulcan Wolverhampton Eng. Badged Classic Roadster

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Vulcan Wolverhampton Eng. Badged Classic Roadster

Old 04-11-24, 09:55 PM
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Vulcan Wolverhampton Eng. Badged Classic Roadster

I have totally struck out in searching Vulcan, or Vulcan Mfg. Co. for this bike. I am guessing it is a 28" roadster, 3 speed? Thanks for taking a peek.
'"



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Old 04-12-24, 05:42 AM
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Is that a 3 speed hub?
which ever, clean it off and see if it has any writing or stampings. 26" tires?
I'll go to the VCC library later today and look up Vulcan.

By many of the frame attributes it looks like a Philips frame from the 40s.

Wolverhampton is just NW of Birmingham which was the bike and parts manufacturing mecca for decades. There was a large frame tube company in Wolverhampton.
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Old 04-12-24, 08:16 AM
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Thank you, Mac.
That's a rather fun and exciting beginning. I just closed the CL deal, and will be able to look closer when I pick it up Sunday. Will get back to you. Steve
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Old 04-12-24, 08:23 AM
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Isn't the wolverhampton an endangered mink-like creature that lives in the Ardenne woods of northern France and Belgium? Never fully recovered after the massive habitat loss of WW1? Careful what you do with this critter. All sorts of environmentalists could be at your back.

Ben - with ties to the US state that celebrates its first cousin, the wolverine that is now extinct (or virtually extinct) there and starting to make a presence in his current state.
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Old 04-12-24, 09:18 AM
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Thanks for the guidance, Ben. I imagine that Michigan drinking water conditions have had an impact on their Wolverhamptons similar to what DDT had on our bald eagles. You can also see the impact on human populations by studying recent Michigan voting patterns. “On to Oregon!” a land that reveres angry rodents, quirky politicians and antique bicycles.
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Old 04-12-24, 10:52 AM
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Looks Like Vulcan was a builder.
In the early English days, there were makers and builders. Makers made bikes from scratch and builders bought parts and assembled their bikes. Bike makers and parts makers both supplied bare frames to builders. The biggest frame suppliers were Hercules, Philips and Armstrong.
Yours looks like a Hercules frame from the late 30s, early 40s but could have gone all the way through the 40s. The rear facing dropouts and rear fork are tell-tales.
When you get it, the rear hub marking will tell more. Hopefully a date.
👍

Last edited by macstuff; 04-12-24 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 04-14-24, 06:31 PM
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They made and assembled a lot of different stuff for sale. The company goes way back.
Here is the company bio:

https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Vulcan...QcpyagCRtXBL2j
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Old 04-18-24, 09:19 AM
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Thanks again, Mac.
Here's some more stuff.
  • A serial# just below the head badge: A _ 4922
  • ENGLAND in a 1/3 circle stamped on bottom bracket. Possibly another serial there but unlikely and I don't want to disturb the rough, but original paint.
  • Dunlop rims: chromed 26 x 1-3/8 E.A. 3 w.o.
  • Sturmey Archer FW 4 speed rear hub
  • Chain ring is a six-spoke sprocket w/56T. Much like this one, but it appears to have no alignment hole, as I am used to seeing on one piece cranks.
    • WILLIAMS COTTERED SINGLE CHAINSETS 3 1/2in (89mm) BCD chainrings
    • Cottered crank with two different crank arms, one stamped "NORMAN" Made in England, which is more likely the original
  • Large 'Vulcan' decal on down tube.
  • Very nice, fine gold pinstriping, much worn away.
  • Nutted seat stays.
I do have photos, but cant find the cord needed to upload them! Will work on that. Let me know what you would like to see. The bike appears to be your basic Raleigh Sports design.

And thanks again for your time in researching this. Steve
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Old 04-18-24, 12:18 PM
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EA3 rims means the tires are the more modern, post 1950, ISO 590 3 speed size. The previous standard size 26x1-3/8 EA1 was ISO 597 and just a hair bigger. Schwinn never changed over to the modern size, All of their 26" lightweight tires are 597s up until the 80s. There is currently only one choice for tires in 3 sidewall colors. Black, tan and white.
This bike certainly came with fenders so there will be a good space between the tire and frame for them.
The rims and all look original so there's a start.

I would say the Norman arm is the replacement. Those are found on Norman bikes and they were their own company. The drive side arm is swedged to the drive plate, they don't come apart, there is no drive pin. A 56 tooth sprocket is fairly unusual.

There should be date stamps on the Sturmey 4spd hub. A 2 letter year and a month. Usually under the Sturmey Archer logo. Sometimes to the side of the logo.
If the bike is post 1950, Vulcan was using older style frames and outfitting them with current parts. Not uncommon at all. The "nutted" seat stay was called a rear fork and was an early design. Sometimes they even bolt to the rear dropout and can be taken completely off.
The stays look like the older design but the head looks like it has a later, more "modern" headset with upper and lower cups.

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Old 04-18-24, 06:16 PM
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We're chugging right along!

Sturmey Archer FW 54. is probably original. I had doubts before your explanation here. The wheels are in good shape despite being well-worn on the side rim.
The 56T crank would really be unusual if this bonehead had recorded it correctly as 46T, just like all the rest. The one-piece rear fork does bolt on top and bottom
What do you find in the VCC library? Are you a northwesterner or a midwesterner, Vancouver or Iowa?

Little about the bicycle business in Grace's history except that they were churning out bikes starting around1929
This history of Wearwell , which was somehow conjoined with Vulcan in the late '20s - early'30s, makes no mention of Vulcan. https://www.wearwell.cc/pages/our-history
I have yet to find any other reference to any Vulcan made bicycle. But we know they exist. For a 'Newbie' that's kind of fun.

Also, following your speculation, I took apart the head set and found what was surely an older than 50's type of bearing arrangement. Not the cup and cone that I am familiar with in 30's and 40's ballooners. Rather there are matching tracks on fork and head tube facing each other, enclosing loose ball bearings. this on both the top and bottom of the headset. Totally new to the newbie here. What do you know about that? Sure fits in with your description of parts from different eras, and that fits too with a history including 2 major factory fires. I wonder how old the frame of this 1954 build might really be.
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Old 04-18-24, 06:58 PM
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There wasn't anything in the V-CC library so I asked about it on the club forum and was directed to Graces guide. If they were a maker, they would have been in the library. They were dedicated to their bikes though. Enough to have metal heabadges made.
English headsets were loose balls till the 60s/70s. To start with, most had flanged head tubes with 4 floating races. Some with clips holding the top race. Then it went to cups with 4 floating races, then cups with 3 floating races. Then to the caged bearings american bikes had for a long time. All together it was a loose-ball mess.
Old English bikes take a dedication to nonsense.
Cottered cranks are an issue also. More loose balls and you should get new cotters everytime you take them apart.
Although... the BB and crank can be replaced with a modern BB with measurement...
I am down to 5 English bikes now and I kinda like them considering they are so overlooked.
I'm in Iowa right now.

Last edited by macstuff; 04-18-24 at 07:02 PM.
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