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2011年2月12日 (土)

Teikoku Bicycle NOS Frame (1)

次回、この記事の日本版を投稿します。

This is an old frame I picked up about a year ago.   It is a NOS (New Old Stock), so never been assembled.  Unfortunately, all I have is the frame so it will have to be pieced together with parts from the same period but different manufacturers.

The frame manufacturer is TEIKOKU.  My research shows that this company was making bicycles as far back as 1930's.  This particular frame probably hasn't seen the light of day for well over half a century.
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Although the chromed parts have their fair share of rust and there are quite a few nicks to the paint, overall appears to be very restorable.  May look pretty rough now, but with a little steelwool to the chrome and compound to the paint she will clean up nicely.Img_2393

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Even under the dust, dirt and grime, the typical three layered enamel paint still retains some vague signs of gloss.
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Note the chrome tipped fork which is a clear indicator that this was a higher-end model.
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The frame still retains some of its original frame-wrap, but it is quite tattered.  I have found that this frame-wrap can be a mixed blessing as the lower grade of frame-wrap is paper and absorbs moisture causing the paint to bubble up over the years.Img_2389

One of the largest seat tube badges I have ever come across.  Stamped in both Japanese and English, there is a full paragraph there and I'll have a closer look with a magnifying glass after I get it cleaned up. Hopefully it will lend a clue or two in helping to date the bicycle.
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Check out the bottom bracket.  Yes, it is a cottered bottom bracket!
Most of these were phased out in England around 1930's.
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The stamping is relatively crude compared with other models I have seen from 1950's.
The seat post bolt head has the company logo.
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A quick internet search turned up some interesting leads. 
(1) There is a bicycle shop in Arakawa-ku which was one of the main bicycle production areas in Tokyo. 
(2)A photo of a shop with the Teikoku Bicycle sign, same logo as the one on this bicycle.
(3)There was a company by the same name producing Ordinary (Penny-farthing) bicycles in 1888.  Could this be a descendant?

Ah, if only old thing like these could talk, what stories they might tell.

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