Author Topic: Original Columbia for Sale  (Read 567 times)

Dr. Brian

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Original Columbia for Sale
« on: September 30, 2019, 12:59:42 PM »
New to your site. Have a Columbia High Wheeler bike for sale. Spent most of its life on a nearby farm here in Central Illinois. Looks to be complete, front wheel is about 55 in diameter, back about 18 in. Front wheel has a few sections of rubber, still turns. Back wheel turns, missing three spokes & rubber. Pedals marked Columbia. Interested in selling it. Thx., contact me if interested further. Dr. Brian, 815-351-7445 cell, brhinri@gmail.com; pics attached (I hope! :) ).

mike cates

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Re: Original Columbia for Sale
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2019, 03:48:53 PM »
Dave Toppin and I once figured out from looking at an original machine near him and one I owned that the ONLY DIFFERENCE between a 1888 and 1889 Columbia Light Roadster is that the seat leather had a metal plate between the leather wrap at the front (pommel) that reinforced it at the riveted area when it was wrapped around the front spring on this 3rd pattern Kirkpatrick saddle. I can't remember which year had the plate and which year did not so Dave, if you are seeing this, what do you think the year is?
Dr. Brian can you look for the serial number of the bike? It is located along the curved edge of the steering head plate that is part of the back bone frame. A matching serial number should also be under the front fork crown at the rear of the fork. It is hard to see with the wheel on but maybe a bright flashlight and small mirror will help.
The size of the bicycle should also be stamped just in front of the large hex nut at the top of the steering head. This refers to the front wheel size.
it looks like the original dust shield name plate is on this bicycle at the rear of the steering head. I have included a photo of reproduction dust shields I have for sale that show script that you might find. Patent dates run vertically on each side of the dust shield name plate.
Mike Cates, CA.
(760) 473-6201
cates0321@hotmail.com
« Last Edit: September 30, 2019, 03:58:14 PM by mike cates »

Dr. Brian

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Re: Original Columbia for Sale
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2019, 06:14:02 PM »
Mike - hey that was fun, went to the barn and looked for your request!

Top of name plate is "Columbia Light Roadster"
Down right side is Jul. 7, 1885, Jul. 21, 1885, Jul. 29, 1885, Jul. 5, 1885 and Jul. 6, 1885 (from what I could see)
Left side is Nov. 20, 1885, then July, then May and the last entry has a number with a "17" after it (best I could do)
Top of fork says "55" stamped into it
Under fork has what looks like "2928" if I am reading it right.
Best I can do, pics attached, thanks for the information - Dr. Brian, Watseka, IL

mike cates

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Re: Original Columbia for Sale
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2019, 11:53:31 PM »
Glad you could identify the numbers.
Your second photo labeled "Inspect B" is the best example for me to guide you as to look for the other serial number. Looking at this photo, there should also be a matching serial number 2928 along the top edge of the steering head plate that is part of the backbone. The serial number is located directly above the slotted cross bolt that holds the front seat spring wire. Look for your 2928 serial number that you found under the front fork also stamped into the top edge of this plate. If pitted or surface rusted, take a small wire brush and scrub this edge of the plate to reveal the matching number. Revealing this number is not looked upon as ruining the originality but rather your diligent researching and identifying the bicycle. You "may" need to use a magnifying glass or a eye loupe if pitting from rust is deep. A bright flashlight also helps bring out faint stampings when looked at from different angles and getting reflections of the surrounding metal
Your serial numbers should match establishing that both front forks and back bone frame were dedicated parts for this bike when going through it's initial production in 1888 or 1889. Mismatched serial numbers mean many things: a back bone or steering head having another serial number was used as a replacement for a repair back in the day resulting from a crash, bent frame, etc. or if the complete front end (front fork, wheel, handlebars, pedals, etc) of the bicycle was found and a backbone was later added to build the bicycle back to original. The fact of finding the same size frame, year, make, model, etc seems nearly impossible and doesn't seem likely to be the case with your bicycle. I don't want to sound to way out there but in this research you have to rule out all the possibilities from my years of doing this as strange things happen in the world of collecting which I again, don't feel is the case here.
By finding these two matching serial numbers, you can ask on this site and someone (Dave Toppin or Carey Williams) has an ongoing list continually contributed to by modern day owners of other sister machines with their serial numbers to pinpoint if your bicycle is an 1888 or 1889 model. If your seat has the metal "pommel hook" that hooks onto the front wire seat spring or there are holes in your leather saddle that show a pommel was there if it is missing now, this was something that was on 1890 models so yours, to confuse things even further, still could be an 1888 or 1889 model fitted with this improvement of a pommel hook used on 1890-1892 models that used the 4th Kirkpatrick model saddle. Yours may be a cross-over machine meaning having a saddle from later year than what was advertised as that years saddle. Also the fact that the saddle could have been recovered later with the later used pommel hook is also a possibility. 
Also have you looked to see if there is a metal plate between the leather wrap where the rivets are that hold the leather that is wraps back on itself at the front of the seat? This will be good to know since your bicycle looks like the leather seat is original and, as I had previously mentioned, this is the only thing that differentiates the 1888 and 1889 model as Dave Toppin and I found out some years ago by comparing two original bicycles. Also this way you can see from the list that people have contributed to if yours is an early or late model produced bicycle of the respective year by serial number for sure and then the fine tuning via how the seat is riveted with or without the metal plate at the front of the leather. Ultimately the serial number will be your most important reference as to where your bicycle places on the contributed list as the seat leather "could" have been changed out but the metal stamped serial numbers are the proof in the pudding. 
Be patient as Wheelmen who are reading this will help you in a more educated way than you can imagine. You are now doing what most collectors do in finding what model and year bicycle you own. Only in this club will you be correctly guided by what I refer to as "fellow experts" in the field of antique bicycles of whom I know and have also known their fathers who passed this knowledge along to them to carry it on today. You are in good hands here.
Your bicycle, having the even surface rust patina all over it from many years, looks like it has been together since day one which is my observation.
From what I see from your photos your bicycle looks like an undisturbed bicycle and you will probably find the matching serial number where I have mentioned.
This research is fascinating to me and a lot of club members and is rewarding to find out exactly what you have and getting the satisfaction of doing something historic by your research of identification of your bicycle for future generations to learn from and refer to.
Happy sleuthing Dr. Watson, I mean Dr. Brian!
Mike Cates, CA.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2019, 05:30:34 AM by mike cates »

DelombardR

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Re: Original Columbia for Sale
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2019, 07:24:00 PM »
Dr. Brian,

Back in July, two of us rode through Watseka on our way from home (Ohio and MIchigan) to The Wheelmen National Meet in Sedalia, Missouri!  I wish we had met you then! 
Here are some photos on our day when we rode from Monticello to Gilman.
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1mr&page_id=589466&v=4c

Both of us were on Columbia Light Roadsters!  Mine is 1888.
Are you sure you don't want to dust yours off, get some new rubber and leather, and mount up? 


Richard

Dr. Brian

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Columbia pics, details
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2019, 01:13:30 PM »
Mike, Richard:
Appreciate the homework given on the high wheeler! Pictures enclosed: matching number as well as seat details.

Richard, appreciate the pics when taking your road trip through Watseka and other central IL towns - you are an enthusiastic Wheelman! I included a pic of my ride, a 1911 Buick - I think you might be able to go faster on your bikes than I can, but I might, that is a might, be safer! (last pic)

The Columbia I have for sale I purchased last year from the grandchildren of the owner, actually their grandparents received the bike from their neighbors back in the day that both passed away and they had no children/heirs. Some of their estate items moved to neighboring farm owners, the bike was included in those items. It wound up in storage until I purchased it, the Buick was in a similar situation - both not moving for a good 60 plus years.

Thanks also as I have had numerous inquiries and interest expressed in the bike so far. Following up with folks the best I can. Dr. Brian, Watseka, IL, 815-351-7445 cell/text, brhinri@gmail.com

David Toppin

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Re: Original Columbia for Sale
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2019, 11:01:13 PM »
The bike is an 1888 Columbia Light Roadster, thanks for contributing the serial number!  Since this bike is all there with an original saddle it will be helpful in narrowing down the numbers that separated 88 and 89.  89 had a hook as Mike has said.  I don't know that I ever would have noticed that had Mike not pointed it out a few years ago.

I just looked at the list and your bike allowed me to date a bunch of others I know of as definitely 1888.  I can say 2302 to 2928 are 1888 bikes.  It helps us understand production numbers of each model for that year.  We now know at least 626 LR's were made in 88.  The highwheel era was beginning its quick decline.  Thank you so much for your input.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2019, 11:14:43 PM by David Toppin »

mike cates

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Re: Original Columbia for Sale
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2019, 04:57:44 PM »
Dave,
Thanks for helping Dr. Brian out with pinpointing the date of his machine. Haven't talked with you in some time.
On another note, is my 1892 52" Columbia Expert Rational with serial number 13434 still the second highest serial number found of the Expert models or Columbia high wheel bicycles in general?
Mike Cates, CA.
(760) 473-6201
cates0321@hotmail.com
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 12:48:42 AM by mike cates »

David Toppin

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Re: Original Columbia for Sale
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2019, 01:12:51 AM »
I know of the following

Columbia   54   Expert   c1890   13518
Columbia   52   Expert   c1891   13677
Columbia   48   Expert   c1891   13784
Columbia    54   Expert   c1891   13825


Columbia   56   Expert   1892           13630      
Columbia   54   Expert   1892         13950      

mike cates

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Re: Original Columbia for Sale
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2019, 04:30:21 PM »
Dave,
Thanks for posting the serial numbers.
So mine, being serial 13434, would be the seventh highest known referring to what you have posted?
With mine, being of the Rational pattern with  52" X 22" wheels, would it be considered an 1890 or can you determine mine further by serial numbers found on other Columbia models (Light Roadster, Standards, Volunteers, etc.) to pinpoint the actual year of manufacture?
Weren't Rationals only produced by Columbia from 1890-92 according to what you know of?
Thanks,
Mike Cates, CA.

Brad Drexler

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Re: Original Columbia for Sale
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2019, 06:06:17 PM »
Thanks Dave for keeping serial number records. My 55" LR is #2903. Didn't know if it was in your book of records or not. Oh and make sure you have #2787 on record also 58" Expert. Just Columbia's numbers you keeping track of?

Nice bike you have there Dr. Brian. Looks like our bikes shared some factory time together 131 years ago.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 06:21:31 PM by Brad Drexler »

David Toppin

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Re: Original Columbia for Sale
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2019, 08:37:37 PM »
Brad we can say your LR is 88 with certainty. I didn't have that Expert,  Send some pics via email to me so I can try to figure it out but I would say probably 83 maybe 84.  I do collect other numbers, mostly highwheel.  I know lots of Eagles, New Rapids, Rudges, etc.  Send whatever you want.

Mike seventh highest that I know, Carey may have more or less or other numbers.  I think rational was 1890 and later.  The highwheels were a dead issue by then.  They hardly sold any once the safeties hit the scene.  Other models have nothing to do with Experts and vice versa, they all had their own numbers probably starting with 1

Jeff Kidder

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Re: Original Columbia for Sale
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2019, 10:02:20 PM »
My 54” x 22” Columbia Expert Rational is serial number 13715.

mike cates

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Re: Original Columbia for Sale
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2019, 10:02:37 AM »
Well I'm now in eighth position after Jeff reported. This is interesting and keep those numbers coming for Dave to transcribe (no matter what model you have) so this stuff doesn't get lost in history!
Mike Cates, CA.

David Toppin

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Re: Original Columbia for Sale
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2019, 07:19:03 PM »
My 54” x 22” Columbia Expert Rational is serial number 13715.

Noted, thanks Jeff!  I am going to assume you have a 4th pattern Kirkpatrick on that bike
« Last Edit: October 10, 2019, 07:20:43 PM by David Toppin »