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2013年2月

2013年2月16日 (土)

Bicycle Tax & License Plates

次回、この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

I have mentioned repeatedly how "bicycles" in Japan during the early 1950's were prized possessions; similar, if not even exceeding, that of automobile ownership today.  They were the only affordable private transportation for the vast majority of households and small businesses. They were expensive costing around two months' salary or more; people and businesses paid on installment plans to purchase them; those who could not afford them rented them by the hour; carrier cycles and utility cycles attached with trailers to haul goods filled the niche of trucks for local small businesses; much like luxury cars of today, bicycles proudly bore a fender ornament(link Japanese only) indicating the manufacturer.  And, to drive this point of bicycles having a similar status as that of automobiles, one often overlooked fact is that from 1950-1958 bicycles in Japan were taxed and had license plates.Jitenshaquest_1
This tax was implemented by the local municipality (town/city) whereby each bicycle had to be registered, and after paying the tax of 200 yen, a "license plate"was attached.  Since the local municipality oversaw the implementation of the "bicycle tax", the design of these "license plates" varied from town to town.

One of the more popular form of license plate design were those attached to the back of the rear fender.
P1190317

The license plate had the name of the municipality and number.  Much like a license plate on today's automobile which typically bears the state or prefecture.P1190316

P1190315

One unique and interesting concept was a form of the license plate attached to the handlebars.  The interesting point is that the design incorporated an anti-theft device. Notice the license plate below bears the numbers 1294.  Also,  if you look closely, there appears to be a strip running across the middle of the numbers.  This strip is actually a removable sliding plate.
Jitenshaquest_1
Photo courtesy of Jitensha Quest
自転車クエスト

Remember that bicycles were prized possessions, cost two months' salary and were not that difficult to steal.  When the sliding plate is removed it leaves a red blank shown in the photo below.
Jitenshaquest_2
Photo courtesy of Jitensha Quest 自転車クエスト

The intention was that when the owner arrived at the desired destination, after locking the bicycle, the owner removed the sliding plate and took it with them. When they returned to the bicycle they inserted the sliding plate.  If, while they were away, someone were to steal the bicycle the red blank was a dead give away that the bicycle was stolen. Like many things in life, it probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but was unpractical as the owner could lose the sliding plate and be mistaken for having stolen his own bicycle!

Many thanks to the bicycle shop Jitensha Quest (Japanese only) located in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture for allowing me to use the above photos.  If you have photos of any interesting license plates that you would like to share with other vintage bicycle enthusiasts please send them to showajitensha@hotmail.co.jp

2013年2月 2日 (土)

山口自転車 マルワイ号 (写真)

I'll be back with another English post soon, until then stay trued and happy wheels.

先月、新潟県の「S-さん」から 自転車の写真をいただきました。
能澤(ノザワ)製作所に引き続き、山口自転車のマルワイ号の写真を投稿します。


Ca3g0071

山口自転車はよく知られていて、約半世紀に渡り自転車を製造していました。
1914年に創業し、本社は東京都台東区、工場は埼玉県川口市にありました。
昭和28年、オートバイ製造に広げ、
昭和38年、丸紅に吸収され、ブランド名が「丸紅山口」に変わりました。

S-さんの自転車は純正な山口自転車で、昭和20年代後半ごろのものと推測されます。

一目ですぐ分かりますが、昭和20年代後半~30年代前半の特徴は多いです。
サスペンション付き革製サドル
風切り
セルロイド製の握り
ヘッドバッヂ・シートチューブバッヂ
チェーンケースバッヂ
BEリム

BEタイヤ

ゴム製(ブロック)ペダル
ロッドブレーキハンドル
フレーム(トップチューブ)カバー

泥除け、フラップ、線引き、等など。

ヘッドバッヂに七宝焼が使用されています。.
Ca3g0077

20年代後半の自転車と思われます。
お洒落なゴールドで転写マークが 多い。
旧漢字も使われています。
マルワイ号の「號」・自転車の「
Ca3g0076

バッヂ類も多いことは、この自転車が20年代後半と裏つけます。
特に、シートチューブバッヂはこのころ一般的でした。Ca3g0075

ダイナモと鍵です。
ペダルの色とチェーンケースのオイル注入口に注目。Ca3g0073      

トップチューブにお洒落なコールド転写マーク。
Ca3g0081

荷台にバッヂが付いていることも20年代後半~30年代初めの特徴。
手引き金線や七宝焼きリア泥除けバッヂ。
Ca3g0078

少し見づらいですが、リムも刻印があります。Ca3g0079

山口自転車「ゴールド」

現役山口自転車

愛車を他の昭和自転車愛好家に見てもらいませんか。
写真をshowajitensha@hotmail.co.jpへ送って下さい。

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