英語の記事 (Postings in English)

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".

2021年10月15日 (金)

Maruishi Fender Ornament (Kangaroo) Part 5

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In the previous 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.  But it is important to also note that even prior to this Maruishi was already importing Pierce models from the US.  Pierce Cycle Company offered innovative models like the one below equipped with rear shock absorber, front leaf spring forks and chainless drive.  

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Courtesy of Pierce-Arrow Society

This is the Pierce head badge.
Note the company slogan "Tried and True".
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Courtesy of The Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum

And here is a Maruishi Pierce model badge with the same slogan "Tried and True".

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When it comes to selecting bicycle companies to import from, Maruishi sure knew how to pick winners.

2021年9月24日 (金)

Maruishi Fender Ornament (Kangaroo) Part 4

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In the previous post Maruishi Fender Ornament (Kangaroo)Part 3 we saw a photo book published 95 years ago which explained that Premier Cycle of Coventry, England had been exporting bicycles to Japan since 1912.  In 1920 it established The Anglo-Japanese Cycle Mfg., Co., Ltd. (aka A.J.C.) , as its manufacturing base in Hyogo Prefecture. Thus,  A.J.C. manufactured the Premier model bicycles locally in Japan and Maruishi Shokai (Maruishi Co.) was its distributor.  

This is the kangaroo trademark used by Premier Cycle of Coventry, England. 
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(Photo property of ONLINE BICYCLE MUSEUM)

Both A.J.C (local manufactuer) and Maruishi Co. (distributor), used the kangaroo as their trademark. But, what remains a mystery is why there were so many variations in the kangaroo trademark.  

Maruishi Shokai (Maruishi Co.) Kangaroo
Head badge
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Guarantee medal
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Fender ornament
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Upon close inspection "Premier" is misspelled Primier.
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A.J.C. Kangaroo
Head badge ①
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Head badge ②
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Guarantee medal ➀
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Guarantee medal ②
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Why the difference? It remains a mystery.
So many mysteries, so little time.

 

2021年8月27日 (金)

Maruishi Fender Ornament (Kangaroo) Part 3

次回この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In the previous post Maruishi Fender Ornament (Kangaroo)Part 2 we continued to examine my theory that the origin of the kangaroo trademark used by Maruishi dates back to 1884 when Hillman Herbert & Cooper, a company in Coventry England, made a dwarf ordinary and named it the Kangaroo.  In 1892 the company changed its name to Premier Cycle Co. Ltd., but retained the kangaroo as its logo.  And, we examined two Premier Cycle guarantee medals; each bearing a kangaroo trademark, the first manufactured by A.J.C. Mfg. Co., and the second by Maruishi Co.  What was A.J.C. Mfg. Co. ?  What does A.J.C. stand for and how was it related to Maruishi Co.?  I found the answers in a photo book published 95 years ago, back in 1926.  

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A.J.C. stands for The Anglo-Japanese Cycle Mfg, Co., Ltd.
(日英自轉車製造株式會社)
Premier Cycle had been exporting bicycles to Japan since 1912.
In 1920 it established The Anglo-Japanese Cycle Mfg., Co., Ltd., as a local manufacturing base in Japan. Img_2689b

The company was located in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture with a complex occupying over 4,200 square meters.
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Note the use of horse drawn wagons to transport goods.
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In 1920 the factory employed around 350 employees.
Annual production of 5,000 motorcycles and 35,000 bicylces.
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Premier model bicycles (1926)
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Thus, A.J.C manufactured the Premier model bicycles while Maruishi Shokai (Maruishi Co.) served as its distributor.
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Thanks to the information contained in the photo book, it proves my theory that the origin of the kangaroo trademark used by Maruishi dates back to 1884 when Hillman Herbert & Cooper, a company in Coventry England, made a dwarf ordinary and named it the Kangaroo. 

 

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