英語の記事 (Postings in English)

2022年8月19日 (金)

Nichibei Fuji Pamphlet 1936【Second half】

次回、この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In the previous post, Nichibei Fuji Pamphlet【First half】we began our look at a rare Fuji Bicycle (Nichibei Fuji) pamphlet dating back to 1936.
As mentioned in the first half, a big thank you goes out to the proprietor of Takahashi Bicycle Shop in Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, who kindly scanned the entire contents and allowed me to share them with vintage Japanese bicycle fans.
Let's take a look at the second half.

The following two pages are about a movie.  Take a close look at the photo (click to enlarge).
Note the celluloid chaincase and the Fuji trademark designed-in freewheel.
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In the page below, the upper photo mentions that a bicycle lane was established in Middlesex, England.
To celebrate the event, the Transportation Minister rode down the lane on an old penny-farthing.
The lower photo shows a unique taxi, a covered rickshaw hitched to the back of a bicycle.
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The article mentions that in a town in the US, a regulation citing that womens' shorts were to be no shorter than two inches above the knee was introduced.  
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Ladies cycling club.
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It is interesting to note how a good portion of this pamphlet promotes bicycles for women.
One year prior to this pamphlet, in 1935, Nichibei Fuji published a photo collection entitled "Women and Fuji Bicycles".
Below is the cover.
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And one photo from the collection.
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Back to the pamphlet.
Nichibei Fuji celebrating its 35th anniversary at the Imperial Hotel.
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Complete list of Nichibei Fuji models and parts.
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Five charcteristics of Nichibei Fuji bicycles
1. Every possible feature
2. Durable
3. Comfortable
4. Prestigious
5. Service and Support
Note the hammock saddle with through-the-loops leather tool kit.
Interesting, none of the models have fender ornaments.
Again, note the celluloid chaincase and the Fuji trademark designed-in chainwheel.
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Nichibei Fuji patented 3Hs Hanger (a.k.a bottom bracket), Hubs, Head set(frame pipes).
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Sweepstakes 
(Prizes awarded to Readers who send in the correct answer to cycling question.)
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Nichibei Fuji, selected supplier to government offices and Osaka police department.
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Advertisement for a Fuji Feather model bicycle.
This is a pre-war model.  I don't see any front brake.  Interestingly, even as far back as  1936 Nichibei Fuji was producing models equipped with cable brakes (rear). Nearly 10 years ago, I did a four part series on a post-war lady's high-end Fuji Feather.
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Much obliged to Mr. Takahashi, the proprietor of Takahashi Bicycle Shop in Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, who kindly scanned the entire contents and allowed me to share them with vintage Japanese bicycle fans.

2022年7月23日 (土)

Nichibei Fuji Pamphlet 1936【First Half】

次回、この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

Here is a rare Fuji Bicycle (Nichibei Fuji) pamphlet dating back to 1936.
A big thank you goes out to the proprietor of Takahashi Bicycle Shop in Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, who kindly scanned the entire contents and allowed me to share them with vintage Japanese bicycle fans.
Let's take a look at the first half.

On the cover are two Americans, actress June Travis, and, comedian Joe Brown riding a tandem bicycle. 
Note:  Click on the photos to enlarge.
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Here is the infamous Fuji trademark.
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That is the famous American child actress Shirley Temple with her bicycle!
Note the cruiser style with whitewall balloon tires, sprung leather saddle and chrome plated handlebars.
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Here is a photo of American girls and on their bicycles.  It states that in America, cycling is good way to stay in shape.
Again, note the cruiser style and whitewalls.
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The following three pages focus on encouraging Japanese women to take up cycling.
Note the goose-neck-style top tube, length of the head tube, and, clear celluloid chaincase.
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Here children practice riding in a school yard learning how to ride in traffic.
Note a few of the children are wearing kimonos, and, if you look real close you will see a couple riding triangle style.
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A Japanese cyclist overseas in the south pacific poses with local natives
Note the guarantee medal still attached to the top tube.  
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Ranking of bicycles in use per country with Japan at the top, 700 million.
Followed by France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, America, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.
Note the photo of the newly built Fuji headquarters in Tokyo.
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Nichibei Fuji boasting to be #1 in all of Asia under the umbrella of Dai Nippon Jitensha Kabushikigaisha.
Their motto "Transfer all manual work to machines” ”Transfer all machine work to automation”.
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Various cyclists in East and West
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Note the lower left photo of the man riding one-handed delivering soba (Japanese noodles made of buckwheat flour).
The soba deliverymen on bicycles rivaled the antics of the best circus acrobats.
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In the next installment we shall take a look at the second half of the pamphlet.

2022年5月27日 (金)

Beausage

次回、この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

Ever notice that certain character or beauty that things attain purely because they are used so often? I've touched upon it before in Do Things Have Souls?.  Espescially "things" made of genuine materials and that our bodies come in contact with.  Think about it.  Are not clothes, for example, a second layer of skin and develop character as they wear in certain places according to repeated usage?   Your favorite pair of well-worn blue jeans, leather baseball glove, leather shoes or leather bicycle saddle for example.
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This character or beauty derived from repeated usage over the course of time is often referred to as "beausage".
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Tools too, since they are simply temporary body parts, i.e., they are extensions of the body used to perform a task, turn a screw, hold a nut, cut a thread, etc. The User is the force and control behind the tool, thus the tool is simply an extension of the body take on a form of beausage over time. 
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Part of this beausage is mottainai-shugi (practically a religion based on a deep belief that it is shameful and a sin to waste things, and things must be repaired over and over until it can no longer be repaired to fulfill its original purpose, and even then, instead of tossing it out, show respect and gratitude by repurposing it, ie giving it a new life).  
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2022年4月29日 (金)

Lost in Black & White (Center Lines)

次回、この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

Most photos from the 1950s of vintage Japanese bicycles are in black & white.  That's because color photography only became affordable and mainstream in the 1970s.  Personally, I like black & white photos, they have a certain charm all their own.  However, some details tend to become diluted or even lost in black & white photos and it isn't until we actually see them in color do we gain a true appreation of their beauty.  BE rims are one of many examples.

We have seen BE rims and BE tires in previous posts.  BE rims were all chrome and typically spokes were black enamel.  Many bore the bicycle manufacturer or rim manufacturer's trade mark.  And, some were absolute artistic masterpieces that had  center lines.  Lets take a look at two examples.

First is a thick blue enamel center line with thin red trim on both sides.
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You don't see much chrome on bicycles anymore.
The entire rim itself is chromed.
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Note that the channel where the edges (flaps) of the BE tire sit is painted blue.
The nice thing about BE tires is that the edges (flaps) encase the tube so no need for rim tape, that function is designed into the BE tire.
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Spoke washers, something we don't see today.
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Second is a thick black enamel center line with gold trim on both sides.
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Note the gold trade mark stamp.
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Note that the channel where the edges (flaps) of the BE tire sit is painted red.
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Again, spoke washers, something we don't see today.
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I am totally sold on BE rims/tires.  Like most old things, they were designed and manufactured to be simple, strong, and beautiful.  They were built to carry heavy loads and withstand unpaved roads.  If I were to find any fault with BE rims it would be that, over many years of heavy use, the friction from braking can wear away the chrome plating down to the bare metal leading to rust.  Araya solved this by manufacturing stainless steel BE rims.  Unfortunately, after many years these were discontinued in 2010.  

 

 

2022年4月16日 (土)

道具箱(第三回)

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

「道具箱(第1回」では、シートチューブの裏上に取り付けられた金属製の道具箱を取り上げました。
前回の「道具箱(第二回)では、ハンモックサドル専用に設計されていた革製の道具箱を見ました。
今回は、もう一つ珍しい革製道具箱を見ましょう。

高級サドル裏側のストラップ穴に取り付けるように出来ている道具箱です。
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表に開け閉め用の金具が付いていません。
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少し変わっている断面図。
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開け閉めは右側面に付いている革製ストラップで行います。
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ストラップは底をスナップで閉じています。
開くには、ストラップを引き下げてスナップを外します。
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ストラップを引っぱると工具入れが出てきます。
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工具入れ
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「道具箱(第二回」で見たハンモックサドルと同様に、内側の工具入れが取り出せるようにできています。
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中には工具4本
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工具に「Kennet」刻印
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以前、「アイデア考古学」を言及しました。
古い物は現代版の先祖です。

2022年4月 1日 (金)

Tool Kit (Part 3)

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In "Tool Kit (Part 1)" we examined a metal tool box that attached directly behind the top of the seat tube.  And, in the previous post, "Tool Kit (Part 2)", we took a look at a tool kit; one made of leather and specifically designed for hammock saddles.  In this post let's take a look at another unique leather tool kit.

This one fastens to the two eyelets provided on the back of high-end saddles.
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Note that the front has no open/close fasteners.
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Also a unique profile.
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A leather strap attached to the side snaps to the bottom to keep the kit closed. 
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To open, pull down on the strap to unsnap it.
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Pull on the strap.
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And the tool kit slides out.
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Similar to the hammock saddle tool kit we saw in "Tool Kit (Part 2)"  the inner pouch can be pulled all the way out.
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The kit has a set of four tools.
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Tools are stamped "Kennet"
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I've mentioned what I like to call "Idea Archeology".  Old things are the ancestors of today's version.  Frozen in time, old things are unique because they are a virtual time machine enabling us to have a glimpse of the design, technology, materials, features, functionality and ideas of their generation.

2022年3月 4日 (金)

Tool Kit (Part 2)

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In the previous post "Tool Kit (Part 1)" we examined a metal tool box that attached directly behind the top of the seat tube.  In this post we shall take a look at another tool kit; one made of leather and specifically designed for hammock saddles

Here is the leather tubular tool kit specifically designed to fit inside the hammock saddle frame loops.
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The kit is designed as a tube within a tube.
That is, an outer tube (case) and an inner tube containing the tools.
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The tools are wrapped in an orange cloth.
The cloth prevents the tools from jingling and can be used to wipe one's hands after performing any maintenance or repairs.
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The kit contains an oiler and set of four spanners.
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Oiler
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Set of four spanners
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In the next English post we shall continue to look at vintage Japanese tool kits.

2022年2月 4日 (金)

Tool Kit (Part 1)

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In the three videos "➀Vintage Japanese Bicycles (Introduction)",   "②They Don't Make Them Like They Used To (First Half)" and  "③ (Second Half)" I captured some of the features of vintage Japanese bicycles that are no longer commonly found on today's bicycles.  But there are still many others.  One additional feature is the metal tool box (tool kit).

The metal tool box clamped on directly behind the top of the seat tube, both on gents & ladies models.

Gents model
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Ladies model
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Here is an actual metal tool box dating back to the mid-1950s.
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It is black enamel with gold lettering and pinstripes.
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It opens from the left side by sliding the wire loop upwards.
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The door pivots on hinges, and inside there is a small oiler (oil can) and set of four tools.
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Oiler and set of tools.
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There is some rust, but no wear and tear.
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The same style metal tool box, in green & gold.
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In the next English post we shall continue to look at vintage Japanese tool kits.

2022年1月 7日 (金)

Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

Yesterday it snowed!!!!⛄⛄⛄
Being from New England I grew up with snow and it is just not winter without snow!
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But what does snow have to do with vintage Japanese bicycles?
Read on.

One of my favorite sayings is "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail".
When I was growing up in New England, I learned the importance of preparing for winter.
Here in Japan, where I live now, to prepare for winter I use my 
Sekine light-carrier cycle.
Weighing in at 80lbs (36kg) unloaded, it is all heavy-duty.
It has several advantages over today's bicycles including a big heavy-duty rear carrier and a heavy-duty roller-equipped stand.

 
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And, it is great for hauling firewood.
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My favorite author, Henry David Thoreau, whose hometown was within a bicycle ride away from mine, in his infamous work, Walden, wrote: "(logs) warmed me twice—once while I was splitting them, and again when they were on the fire, so that no fuel could give out more heat".

How true!
Actually they warm me FOUR times!!!!

1. First
When cutting trees into 40cm logs.  No chainsaw, I strive to keep things simple, so I do all my log cutting by hand manually with a Silky Katanaboy (folding saw with 65cm blade, longest on the market) and afterwards, depending on their size and weight either roll them to the street or carry them to the street on by back with a shoiko (a wooden rack with shoulder straps for carrying loads on one's back).
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2. Second
When hauling them back home either on my back with a shoiko or with my Sekine light-carrier cycle.Photo_20220107152601
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3. Third
When log splitting.
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4. Fourth
When in the fireplace.
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Thoreau also wrote in Walden: "Every man looks at his wood-pile with a kind of affection."
Hear, hear!
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2021年11月12日 (金)

Maruishi Fender Ornament (Kangaroo) Part 6

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In the first four installments (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) we traced the origin of the kangaroo trade mark used by Maruishi Shokai on its Premier model which was first imported from Premier Cycle of Coventry, England in 1912.  And, in the previous post (Part 5), we noted that even prior to 1912, Maruishi was already importing bicycles from Pierce Cycle Company, Buffalo, New York, USA.

Along with the kangaroo trade mark first used on the Premier model, Maruishi also had another trade mark.  In Japanese, Maruishi is written with the two characters Maru (丸= round, circle)and Ishi (石=stone), thus, literally "Round Stone".  The trade mark is a pictogram using an "oval=O” to express "丸=round" with the character for stone (石) inside it.

Here is a guarantee medal with the Maruishi trade mark.
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Maru (round) "O" and Ishi (stone) .
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Here again is the trade mark on a head badge.(←link Japanese only)
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Maru (round) "O" and Ishi (stone) .
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The same trade mark was used on the Pierce model.
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And also on some fender ornaments.
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On signs and advertisements.
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(There are four trade marks in the advertisement below.
   can you find them all?)
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And even on work aprons.

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The trade mark appeared in neon lights perched high atop the Maruishi Building as seen in this advertisement taken from a 1956 export catalog. Note the "Brands" listed.
・Premier
   (originally imported from Premier Cycle of Coventry, England)
・Pierce
   (originally imported from Pierce Cycle Company, Buffalo, New York, USA.)
・Golden Arrow
   (Unknown)
・Maruishi (own brand)
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In the next, and final post on Maruishi, we will take a closer look at the Maruishi Building (above) which was completed in 1931, still stands today and is registered as a "tangible cultural property of Japan".

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