In the previous post (Chainwheel First Half) it was noted how on vintage Japanese bicycles nearly each and every part bear the manufacturer's name or trademark, often more than once. We also saw how Japanese manufacturers adopted the practice of designing the company name, logo or trademark into the design of their chainwheels.
In this post we will take a look at how these ornate chainwheels were actually showcased by the unique chaincases of that era.
1950's, with the exception of heavy duty carrier cycles, the vast majority of bicycles came with chaincases. Some of the chaincase designs incorporated the use of transparent celluloid to showcase the chainwheel. There were all transparent celluloid chaincases chaincases with all transparent outer half and all steel inner or backside, and, chaincases with only transparent celluloid chainwheel covers. In each case the use of transparent celluloid enabled the manufacturers to advertise their brand, and, for onlookers, to appreciate the cleverly designed chainwheels.
Click on the photo below to enlarge. Note that the entire chaincase is transparent.
Here is a fine example of a chaincase where the outer half is all transparent celluloid and the inner or back is painted steel. Faithful readers will recognize this as the finely restored Nichibei Fuji Feather bicycle which was covered in detail last year.
Note the clever design of the chainwheel which employs the Nichibei Fuji trademark three times.
Here is another great example of an artistic chaincase and chainwheel.
Note that, similar to the above example, the outer portion of the chaincase is transparent celluloid with a painted steel backside. Only in this case, we see that the center portion is colored. It is doubtful that the gold chain is original, but it sure is a nice accent.
Photos courtesy of Tomi over at Bicycle Fan.
Here is an example of a all steel chaincase with transparent celluloid chainwheel cover.
Of course there were numerous companies that made ornate chainwheels but covered them with a regular chromed chainwheel covers. A shame when one considers the artistic beauty of these chainwheels.