Each week I receive quite a bit of email from both inside and outside Japan. Queries regarding repair, restoration or information on a particular manufacturer or model. A few weeks ago I received a surprise. It was an email in Japanese from a Mr. "M", who resides near Mt Fuji. He writes: "While cleaning out my garage I came across these old bicycle fender ornaments, if you are interested in them I'll be happy to let you have them. " Below is the actual photo that accompanied the email..
I have to admit I was impressed. That Mr. "M" would take the time and trouble to go out of his way to search the Internet to find a good home for these historical bicycle artifacts instead of allowing them to become scrap metal. Thank you Mr. "M", your kind donation is very much appreciated and supports this blog's purpose: the restoration, preservation and research of bicycles from before, during and just after the 1950's.
Vintage Japanese bicycle fans will quickly recognize the Nichibei Fuji (top left) and the Miyata (top right). What was interesting for me was that there were four different fender ornaments from the same manufacturer. The manufacturer's trade mark was crossed fountain pen tips. Strange? Maybe from today's perspective. But one must remember that before the age of electronics, most catalogs consisted of bicycles, victrolas, hand or pedal powered sewing machines, wind up clocks, and, yes, fountain pens. As can be seen below the crossed fountain pen tips are inside the circle. Note that this symbol (trade mark) can be found on all four of he following fender ornaments.
Plate Type(←Japanese only)
Oldest type of fender ornament.
Figure Type (←Japanese only)
Probably originally from heavy duty carrier bicycle.
Logo with wings.
Probably originally from a roadster model.
In Japanese the word for fountain pen 万年筆 is written with the characters meaning "ten thousand year quill" as prior to the fountain pen people were required to "dip" and write. So if taken in context, for the era, one realizes the significance of the fountain pen, its association with long lasting, state-of-the-art technology and precise machining. Hmmm....not a bad trade mark when you put it in context.
A special thanks to Mr. "M" for his generous donation and support for my cause, the restoration, preservation and research of bicycles from before, during and just after the 1950's.