Mystery Frame from a WAHCC Member

twitwalk
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Mystery Frame from a WAHCC Member

Postby twitwalk » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:07 pm

Hi Gents, HappyHumber posting here helping my friend & neighbour, twitwalk from the WAHCC in maybe helping to find some clues as to identifying this frame retrieved from the estate of a recently deceased WAHCC member.

Any clues or similarities with known bikes gratefully considered. Perhaps the the format of the serial number with the offset 'R' maybe our best clue as to builder or manufacturer.

Standard few shots of some details as follows;

Head tube details:
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Seat stay and tube detail with Serial numbers. Nicely tapered, wrap around stays.
Image

Bottom brack & drop out details
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left hand drop out. The drive side has had its hanger ground off at some stage.
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HappyHumber
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Re: Mystery Frame from a WAHCC Member

Postby HappyHumber » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:50 pm

thanks to the mods for releasing this for twitwalks account. The frame despite being a little rough in some of the finishing is reasonably light and thin (sounding) tubing. Alas, the previous owner had a tendency to blast and prime most frames that came his way, so any tell tale patina has been long lost.
Last edited by HappyHumber on Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
- Kym
Infrequently reading & contributing these days. Still reachable by PM (email alerts) - dec 2016

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find_bruce
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Re: Mystery Frame from a WAHCC Member

Postby find_bruce » Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:49 am

HappyHumber wrote:thanks to the mods for releasing this for twitwalks account.
He came with a recommendation from you, but it was approved anyway :D

Some nice detail on the frame - I always admire wrap around stays & these look to be well made

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WyvernRH
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Re: Mystery Frame from a WAHCC Member

Postby WyvernRH » Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:10 pm

Well, the lugset is very likely the Haden Firefly set which was used by several UK manufacturers on their mid to higher end models.
Image

I have a mid-50's Holdsworth and an early 60's Dawes with these lugs. With the wraparound stays and early type Cyclo dropouts I might suggest it could be a Carlton, who also used these lugs on some models and used wraparound stays. Is there a frame number stamped on one of the rear dropouts or under the bottom bracket? Or on the fork steerer maybe?
Holdsworths were also noted for wrap-around stays on some models but the filework around the dropouts and lugs looks a bit rough for a Holdsworth.

No oiler is present on the top left of the bottom bracket which is interesting as I would normally expect one. Has it been covered up by the front derailleur braze-on? If so it may suggest that the braze-on is a later addition. As the gear hanger was removed it was probably a Benelux or Simplex specific hanger that would not accept a modern gear which puts this frame pretty squarely into the mid 50's to very early 60's range IMHO.
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The rough, bubbly stuff near the l/h chainstay exit on the bottom bracket may bear investigation. Could be just stray brass or crap under the paint but might be a repair.

Nice looking frame, definitely worth putting in some effort on that one. Note that unless you can find a frame number all the above is informed conjecture :wink:

Richard

twitwalk
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Re: Mystery Frame from a WAHCC Member

Postby twitwalk » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:21 am

Thanks Richard,
Nice to have a possible direction. One of the rear drop outs does indeed have Benelux stamped on it! I can't see any numbers stamped anywhere other than on the top of the seat tube, and I wonder if the 56 does confirm what you say about mid 50's to early 60's date range?
Unfortunately, as you say, the standard of finish on the lugs isn't of a high standard and I'll have re-blast those areas to see what's lurking there. On the plus side, the rest of the frame seems straight and the tapered rear stays look very nice, oh, and it's quite light.
I can't see any evidence that there was ever a name badge riveted/fastened to the head tube (is that the name?). Did Dawes, Carlton or Holdsworth use decals in that period (50's-60's)?
Thanks again and your caution about conjecture is duly noted.
Regards
Viv

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WyvernRH
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Re: Mystery Frame from a WAHCC Member

Postby WyvernRH » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:46 am

Another point to consider is that both the front and rear dropouts have been 'filled and filed' to give the smooth angle, not brazed ito a domed slot (as in the picture I posted) This tends to point to a lower production run using more labour intensive methods.
Just as an aside, I did think of one make that used the letter/number sequence stamped on the seat lug like yours, which is Elswick-Hopper who also did wrap-around stays. However the 'R' in your number (R18356) would give 1940 or 1964 as the year.
1964 would be just possible for the rear dropouts, I have a 1960 Lincoln Imp with Benelux specific dropouts and the Benelux Mk7 changer staggered on into the early 60's, this Raleigh still had a Benelux changer in 1964 https://function88.wordpress.com/category/bicycles/raleigh-blue-streak-c-1964/...so maybe? I can't find and Elswick early 60's catalog but maybe you will have better luck.

Richard

twitwalk
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Re: Mystery Frame from a WAHCC Member

Postby twitwalk » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:58 pm

Hi Richard,
I see what you mean about the E H numbering (I'd never heard of Elswick Hopper) and I'll do some digging about specs from the 60's.
The filled and filed dropouts look very backyard compared to the manufactured domed style! In fact under the gaze of macro snaps the bottom bracket looks VERY backyard...
Can't see any evidence that there has been an oiler on the bb and I can't see anything on the inside. Would there be an oiler if there's a drain hole on the underside of the bb? Around 4.5mm in this case.
Cheers
Viv

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GaryF
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Re: Mystery Frame from a WAHCC Member

Postby GaryF » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:14 pm

Such a nice frame. Are you going to clean up the rough bits before it gets a paint job? I too thought it looked British but Richard's Elswick Hopper lead is very interesting.

Its not uncommon to see an oiler boss that hasn't been used.

Very exciting project, best of luck.

twitwalk
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Re: Mystery Frame from a WAHCC Member

Postby twitwalk » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:08 pm

yep, will blast and tidy up the rough bits especially as my peers and superiors have seen it on this forum....
The number looks Elswick Hopper-ish but some of the standard of construction (the bb) looks very ordinary and probably not factory standard so as Richard said, possibly a repair. The search continues....
Thanks for the encouragement (I may need it)

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GaryF
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Re: Mystery Frame from a WAHCC Member

Postby GaryF » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:20 am

twitwalk wrote:yep, will blast and tidy up the rough bits especially as my peers and superiors have seen it on this forum....
The number looks Elswick Hopper-ish but some of the standard of construction (the bb) looks very ordinary and probably not factory standard so as Richard said, possibly a repair. The search continues....
Thanks for the encouragement (I may need it)
.

I must say that the BB does stand out as not being the same quality fit/finish as the other lugs on your frame. I think with a bit of work, this frame will look fantastic when finished. I am very impressed with your willingness to discover all you can about this frame. It's also really interesting to get a snapshot of the level of knowledge available and shared on this forum through your thread.

Regarding the build quality - I remember doing a similar repaint to a Malvern Star, 5 Star road frame. I am 100% confident it was a genuine and never reconditioned frame. I like to burn the paint off frames I re-paint so as to remove all of the old paint finish. (This process never heats the frame to a temperature anywhere near a temperature that can damage the structure of the frame.)

After doing this, I was amazed to see the many rough file marks that were now very evident. Inspecting the lug/tube junctions I was also amazed to see a real lack of solder between the lugs and tubes in most situations. I went over the frame and re silver soldered most of the lugs.

I thought Malvern Star, 5 Star models were the 'top of the range' but evidently not. I wondered if this particular frame was built by an apprentice learning his/her craft?

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WyvernRH
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Re: Mystery Frame from a WAHCC Member

Postby WyvernRH » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:01 pm

GaryF wrote:
twitwalk wrote:<snip> but some of the standard of construction (the bb) looks very ordinary and probably not factory standard <snip>

Regarding the build quality - I remember doing a similar repaint to a Malvern Star, 5 Star <snip>
After doing this, I was amazed to see the many rough file marks that were now very evident


I probably wouldn't fret too much about the finishing touches. Despite what some folk think not all old bikes, even good quality ones were built by artisan pefectionists, especially in factories. Mostly the mid-range, lower end stuff was built by chaps on piece-work rates and the quality of build depended on the foreman's attitude and the company's Q/C policy.I can think of several British manufacturers who let 'minor' brazing faults, file marks, spatter etc through to the paintshop and relied on a good thick filler undercoat to mask any slips (Dawes and several Raleigh sub-brands spring to mind).
Stuff like this would have been sent back by the foreman or Q/C at smaller, more quality concious works. Sunbeam for example, were reknowned for their attention to detail and quality before BSA took them over - when it all went downhill....

I have repaired several older Malvern Stars over the years (never a 'hand built') and the standard of build varied from OK to frankly poor where a seat tube had pulled out of the bottom bracket due to lack of insertion (the pin missed the tube!) and lack of braze (admittedly after a LOT of years of use :wink: )

So, what I am trying to say here is that frame looks to be a really nice frame and with a good undercoat it will look great. The minor flaws are part of th e frame's character and will vanish under the paint. They are probably just cos the chap building all those years ago was in a bit of a rush/not too experienced/had a hangover/was distracted by thinking of lunch/beer/women whatever. :)

Richard

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GaryF
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Re: Mystery Frame from a WAHCC Member

Postby GaryF » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:33 pm

WyvernRH wrote:So, what I am trying to say here is that frame looks to be a really nice frame and with a good undercoat it will look great. The minor flaws are part of th e frame's character and will vanish under the paint. They are probably just cos the chap building all those years ago was in a bit of a rush/not too experienced/had a hangover/was distracted by thinking of lunch/beer/women whatever. :)

Richard


Thanks for your insight Richard, and I think your last paragraph says it all. I couldn't agree more.

twitwalk
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Re: Mystery Frame from a WAHCC Member

Postby twitwalk » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:55 pm

WyvernRH wrote:
So, what I am trying to say here is that frame looks to be a really nice frame and with a good undercoat it will look great. The minor flaws are part of the frame's character and will vanish under the paint.

I'll adopt that as my ethos.
But as a starting point I'd really like to settle on a date of manufacture as a minimum (if I can't discover the actual manufacturer).
And speaking of Elswick Hopper, I came across this on Sheldon Brown

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/org/elswick.html

Cheers
Viv

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