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1938 Elgin twinbar Bicycle -Racing history

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Coppertop's loves2 of 31941 Hawthorne 'Comet' Womens BicycleMid 1930s Garton tricycle
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    Posted 8 years ago

    (7 items)

    This bike came to me with only frame, rear hub w 7 tooth rear cog gear (14 tooth) skiptooth w/ solid front skip-tooth sprocket and crank. Also had original handlebars and seat post. Rusty chain was not salvageable. I was totally elated when my neighbor called me over to see it. He had seen what I had done with my first recent bike project (1939 Huffman-Dayton) and said at that time....only days earlier, that he was going to find me an old skip-tooth bike. I said, "sure u will!" well, he lived up to it as this bike being proof. It had really a great rusty patina and I am not sure now if I would not rather have it like it was as found. Anyway, after paying him the hugh sum of $25.00 for it, I took it home and had it ride-able that same evening. After realizing that I had received one of the most cherished of all pre-war frames, I offered my neighbor more money which he would not take. He said he paid $20.00 for it! This was in 2012. Upon questioning him more about some possible history of where it came from he finally told me the old gent's name and address. His name is Trader "Jack" and he is 85 yrs old. He bought the Elgin new and rode it for many years. In the early 1950's , he replaced the rear sprocket to the tiniest one available (even today), of only 7 skip-teeth. His front sprocket was hugh equally todays 52 tooth size. He then entered it in some of the first bicycle races to be held in Anderson, Indiana, at the 1/2 mile cinder oval horse track, located along the White River near downtown Anderson. This was sooo exciting! He said that the races consisted of two laps around the mile. When they would first start, he said that he would be almost 200 yards behind the leaders until the second half of the last lap coming down the home stretch, whereupon he would pass them like they were sitting rabbits...he finally had the high-gears paying big rewards as the other riders seemed exhausted and he said he was barely breath'n hard! He won every race he entered with this bike. As age took effect...and life became entangled in World War II... He was off to war and the bike was parked in the rear field against the backside of the big barn. That is where my neighbor found it when he approached Trader Jack during a rummage sale and asked him if he had any old bikes around because his neighbor restored them for kids. More history is sure to follow. I want to go back and visit him again before it is too late! Love the bike...I have mounted an additional remove-able seat in front of the regular seat to ride my grandson, Carder. One will be his!

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    1. fortapache fortapache, 8 years ago
      Great picture. And the bike too. Welcome to CW.
    2. inky inky, 8 years ago
      Fantastic lucky you are to have it, the bike and the history....made the hairs on my arm stand on end....loved it and well done!....:-)
    3. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 8 years ago
      Double, I remember the term "skip-tooth" but need my memory jogged.
    4. DoubleLDesigns DoubleLDesigns, 8 years ago
      A brief explanation of the term "Skip-tooth" when referring to bicycles. "Most all bicycles and tricycles prior to World War II were all equipped with front and rear sprockets that have teeth that are spaced approx. 1 inch apart which gives it a distinctive look when compared to modern day or present speed chain designs which have a tooth every 1/2 inch. They are today referred to as Skip-tooth " because it looks like they are missing teeth on the sprockets or gearing. The early skip-tooth designs were much thicker and bolder looking thus utilizing heavier chains than the newer, thinner sprockets and chains. It makes identifying and approximating age for the majority of pre-war (bikes mfg before WWII) . Skip-tooth chains were also used on most early industrial and agricultural equipment in the US from @ 1890 to 1940. As steel processing became more efficient, thinner , (yet strong) lighter, sprockets and chains were manufactured and uitilized replacing the heavy, archaic looking skip-tooth designs. Early skip-tooth sprockets and gearing came in an amazing array of designs that were laid out by pencil and rudimentary measuring devices. This in turn, increases their appeal to collectors. Many single skip-tooth sprockets from early bicycles can command high dollar depending on their design and demand for restoration. A Harley-Davidson (for a early 1905-15 bicycle) recently brought $425.00 in rusty but solid condition.
    5. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 8 years ago
      Thanks for the explanation, Double.
    6. Rustfarm Rustfarm, 8 years ago
      That type of chain was also known as twin roller chain to be used on twin roller sprockets.

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