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Penny Farthing identification

Old 06-26-19, 03:41 PM
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yobuttin
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Penny Farthing identification

Im hoping someone can identify this penny farthing bike. I dont know anything about it other than the front wheel is 52". I do know grandfather rode it in parades when he was a mason, that was approx 60 years ago. Not sure if it was purchased new then, or if it was sitting in the masonic lodge he was a member of. The grips appear to be rubber or leather?

Appears I cannot post pictures until I reach 10 posts. Will report back.
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Old 06-26-19, 05:59 PM
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DiabloScott
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You can post a url to an imgur or similar site.
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Old 06-26-19, 07:36 PM
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Kind of excited. This is a thread you don't see every day.
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Old 06-27-19, 11:50 AM
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There were replica penny farthings manufactured in the very late 1960s, Falcon of England had one that was sold through Wheel Goods' Cyclology mail order catalogue. The era would be about right, so that's one shot in the dark.
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Old 06-27-19, 03:52 PM
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Says I need 1 more post then I can post images...
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Old 06-27-19, 03:53 PM
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Its in pretty rough shape imo but im more curious about age and manufacturer, and value of course.



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Old 06-27-19, 06:09 PM
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In 2005, was visiting the American Bicycle Museum in Ohio, overheard one of the staff conferring with a caller who had just bought a PF and was looking for restoration advice; the guy sounded like he knew what he was talking about, you might contact them.

museum

I was killing time, wife was laying on the floor in the museum, suffering from food poisoning.
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Old 06-27-19, 06:19 PM
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cb400bill
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Thread moved from C&V to C&V Appraisals.
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Old 06-27-19, 07:03 PM
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It almost looks like my Rudge roadster. That brake is very unusual, but very cool. Look at the bearings on the front hub. Does it have any markings there? And are they ball bearings or s bushing?
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Old 06-28-19, 04:40 AM
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Here's a close up of the bearings. I dont really see any markings since it appears to have been heavily spray painted. Also a closer up picture of the brake. Was that brake a stock feature or did someone rig that on there?



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Old 06-28-19, 05:41 AM
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I'm not familiar with bikes this old, but I think anybody making reproductions in later times would use some contemporary components in the build and not bother with things like rectangular cotters. I'll guess that this is a 19th century machine.
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Old 06-28-19, 06:44 AM
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The steering knuckle and crank/hub look like those used by Columbia in the late 19th century. I don't think that spoon brake is original. It looks rather bodged up, as does the saddle. Still very nice. What plans do you have for it?
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Old 06-28-19, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
The steering knuckle and crank/hub look like those used by Columbia in the late 19th century. I don't think that spoon brake is original. It looks rather bodged up, as does the saddle. Still very nice. What plans do you have for it?
Well...originally I thought about selling it, but now im having second thoughts. If it is from the late 1800's thats even cooler. Id hate to think how much it would cost to restore...but since it was free/inherited, may be worth restoring it and just displaying it in the house. Think it could be restored for less than $1500? Wife and I both like it. We have high walls in our house, she wanted to figure out a way to hang it up. Not sure how great that would look, wouldnt exactly go with our theme.

The back wheel locks up a little. I did try to ride it yesterday. Man, those things are scary. I didnt successfully get on the seat, I chickened out. I did have a pair of crocks on though which wasnt exactly smart.
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Old 06-28-19, 07:22 AM
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The wheels turn and it is somewhat rideable? Wow.

I don't know how far $1,500 would go in a restoration, since you're looking at paint, re-plating some of the components, and finding or fabricating parts; however the bike would certainly bring $5,000 or more with a reasonable restoration. It would depend on the make and model, of course, which has not yet been established. I'm going out on a limb that all of that paint was not original , so I would recommend carefully trying to strip the paint around the steering knuckle/head tube. A lot of manufacturers stamped serial numbers/patent dates/other identifiers around that area. All those layers of paint could be hiding some great info.

How about hanging it from the ceiling?

I'm looking forward to your progress on this.
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Old 06-28-19, 07:37 AM
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yobuttin
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
The wheels turn and it is somewhat rideable? Wow.

I don't know how far $1,500 would go in a restoration, since you're looking at paint, re-plating some of the components, and finding or fabricating parts; however the bike would certainly bring $5,000 or more with a reasonable restoration. It would depend on the make and model, of course, which has not yet been established. I'm going out on a limb that all of that paint was not original , so I would recommend carefully trying to strip the paint around the steering knuckle/head tube. A lot of manufacturers stamped serial numbers/patent dates/other identifiers around that area. All those layers of paint could be hiding some great info.

How about hanging it from the ceiling?

I'm looking forward to your progress on this.
I think your assessment of the thick silver paint not being original is correct . I never though about taking some of that off. Any recommendations on paint strippers, im guessing any of them will do the trick? I only ever sand blasted olympic weight plates to remove paint...I definitely do not want to use something that abrasive on this.
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Old 06-28-19, 08:16 AM
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+1, this very reminiscent of a Columbia Expert, which would place it mid to late 1880s. I agree, the spoon brake and saddle appear to have been significantly altered. The badge on the Columbia of this era typically wrapped around the back side of the head tube. As noted, they typically carried patent information, which would establish a "no older than" date. Here's an example of one on Ebay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/273897411262

I have no idea on the cost of restoration. For that and more opinions on age, value and identity, you may want to post it on the Antique Bicycles Pre-1933 forum at The CABE: https://thecabe.com/forum/
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Old 06-28-19, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by yobuttin View Post
Any recommendations on paint strippers, im guessing any of them will do the trick?
I like ZipStrip, but it is rather caustic so be careful. For that small area, you may just try to rub the paint with some acetone to see if anything starts to telegraph through. When you get to the point of restoration, you may want to consider soda blasting, which works well for sensitive surfaces. Agree totally with T-Mar's suggestion of contacting some other communities focused on bikes of this vintage. You have a real gem, there.

Good luck.
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Old 06-28-19, 07:03 PM
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I wanted to give a quick update. The folks over at thecabe.com have also been really helpful. It appears the bike is an 1885 Columbia Expert. The brake system and seat is garbage. Someone fabricated those years ago...they are not original (as most of you said here.) I was able to pull a serial number, it reads 2902.


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Old 06-28-19, 08:22 PM
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If you are Mechanically inclined, you can put new rubber tires on it. I will look for the name of the shop in Ohio I bought rubber from. Same material that horse buggies have. There is a hole in the center of the rubber that you fish solid steel wire through and clinch it together and solder it in place. The rubber then will cover it all. It looks like it has both original rims as the spokes are radial style. Mine has a very old replaced rear rim. The little u shaped rod under the frame from the front forks is a pants guard. So the wheel wont grab your pants.
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Old 06-28-19, 08:34 PM
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Be careful riding it with the tires like that. It will ruin the rim . There is a little peg on the left side of the frame towards the bottom . Place your left shoe on that and sorta skip down the street until the bike feels stable, then sorta hop onto the seat and away you go. When you get good at dismounting it you leave your left foot on the pedal and when the right pedal reaches about top center , swing your right leg over the seat and ride the left pedal down. Its scary st first but it's cool when you get it down pat.
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Old 06-28-19, 08:43 PM
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One approach seems to be combining multiple modern airless tires, eg

https://www.unicycle.co.uk/penny-far...tyres-138.html

that said, that might be specific to modern rim material (re?)rolled to a larger hoop diameter

You could also try Tommy Miller at "the unicycle factory" - famous for making many almost penny size solid tyre wheels in the past few decades

Last edited by UniChris; 06-28-19 at 08:48 PM.
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