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How old is this Brooks saddle?

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How old is this Brooks saddle?

Old 12-21-21, 12:37 PM
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Force 
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How old is this Brooks saddle?

This saddle came on a bike believed to be from 1938. Is it possible that the saddle is that old? Thanks in advance.





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Old 12-21-21, 01:33 PM
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Old 12-21-21, 02:33 PM
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Thanks @merziac!

Yes, that saddle is definitely before 1950 (when the current nose hardware was introduced. The keyhole cut outs indicate it's older than that. That's all I am sure of. If you'd asked me to guess its age I'd have said 1930ís.
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Old 12-21-21, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Thanks @merziac!

Yes, that saddle is definitely before 1950 (when the current nose hardware was introduced. The keyhole cut outs indicate it's older than that. That's all I am sure of. If you'd asked me to guess its age I'd have said 1930ís.
Thank you! That's good to know!
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Old 12-22-21, 01:05 PM
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That poor saddle looks so thirsty! @Force, please tell me you're going to hit it with some leather conditioner, like stat?

Also, what a find! When do we get to see the bike?
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Old 12-22-21, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
That poor saddle looks so thirsty! @Force, please tell me you're going to hit it with some leather conditioner, like stat?

Also, what a find! When do we get to see the bike?
Don't worry, I already put conditioner on it! May do a thread on the bike. It's an old French porteur.
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Old 12-22-21, 01:20 PM
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It always amazes me how forgiving these saddles are. I have brought a couple back by conditioning them, I still ride them and so far so good. If they fail I would not toss them out but send them to RHM for rebuild. Have you seen some of his work?! AMAZING!
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Old 12-23-21, 05:45 AM
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Coincidentally I had bought a similar saddle last week. It arrived this morning, so I could now take a closer look and share the findings.

Overall it looks to be in good shape:



According to the stamp it is a B17 Champion Special:



From the outside the rear looks similar to the one Force posted above:



From the inside, however:



The nose hardware also looks more modern:



I can't quite match the details with what Velobase states about these and what rhm posted above. Perhaps the frame was replaced at some point in time?
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Old 12-23-21, 12:45 PM
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[QUOTE=non-fixie;22349133]Coincidentally I had bought a similar saddle last week. It arrived this morning, so I could now take a closer look and share the findings.

Interesting. Yours is in good shape with nice leather. You are right that your hardware looks different, so possibly not as old as mine.
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Old 12-24-21, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Force View Post
Interesting. Yours is in good shape with nice leather. You are right that your hardware looks different, so possibly not as old as mine.
I have been doing a little digging and I have found that the bag eyelets in the leather first appeared on the B17 in the 2nd edition of the 1937 Brooks catalog. This is the (identical) page from the 1938 catalog:



I am not seeing the keyhole slots in the top here.
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Old 12-24-21, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
I have been doing a little digging and I have found that the bag eyelets in the leather first appeared on the B17 in the 2nd edition of the 1937 Brooks catalog. This is the (identical) page from the 1938 catalog:

I am not seeing the keyhole slots in the top here.
Interesting. It is hard to tell in the image, but does the saddle on top not have a keyhole slot? On my monitor, it looks like it has something different than the holes.
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Old 12-24-21, 02:21 PM
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Earlier catalogues also had the bag loops set into the leather.
The one from the 1920 catalogue had them. The saddle badge is in the earlier form, predating your saddle.
If you work through the catalogues on this page you can see the evolution of the B17's.
The width for the Standard did vary from the mid-1920s.
You can also see that the name badge guide provided at https://www.kurtkaminer.com/brooksbadges.html is not supported by the images in the Brooks catalogues.
But the B17 Champion Standard doesn't, in the catalogues provided on that site, have a keyhole cutout (other models do).

We then come back to the saddle in question, a B17 Champion Special. Not a Standard, and not in the catalogues.
I would be guided by the saddle badge design, the inclusion of the saddle bag loops, and the width corresponding to that of the B17 Standard. When these all met, then it would give you a year range for your Special.

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Old 12-25-21, 10:00 AM
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I don't see any difference in the nose hardware between the saddles posted by @Force and @non-fixie. Force's has been adjusted almost to the end, and someone put a nut on the end of the shackle bolt for reasons best known to himself.

But look again at this photo of Force's saddle:



The bag loops, as @Big_Block mentioned, are punched through the leather rather than incorporated into the frame (as they did on later saddles). They are reinforced from the underside by a thin steel sheet that is locked to the leather by the eyelets in the bag loops; each steel sheet has a tab that goes up under the cantle plate, where it is bent over to support the weight of the saddle bag. You can see this in the photo-- it is missing in non-fixie's saddle.

@Force, are your bag loop eyelets brass?
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