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 Colors used on Bicycles 1890-1905
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Ed Minas

USA
44 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2017 :  16:08:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think it would interesting to start a discussion of bicycle colors. Most TOC bikes I have seen have been black, deep maroon, or in the case or the Stearns Yellow Fellow yellow. What other original colors have members seen used? There isn't much information on the internet about the subject, There is some discussion on earily car colors, but not bicycles which of course preceded most cars. Have there ever been any articles published on this topic. Inquiring minds need to know.


bjd.

USA
1494 Posts

Posted - 09/30/2017 :  17:43:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The 1898 Featherstone catalog listed black, dark red or olive green as available colors. They also listed "straw" colored blocks in the block chain. I had fun painting the individual blocks on June's bike! Paint was a lot different in those days, in terms of drying times. It was an enamel that was slow to dry, some taking weeks to dry, which made production slow! Many lamps and black accessories used "japaning" which was a black paint floating on water that the item was dipped through and pulled back out, leaving a very thin coat on it. Lacquers didn't come out until the late twenties. When they did, it changed auto and bike production greatly because it came in many colors that still dried quickly. Pin striping was, and still is, a fine art too! There were water transfer decals made and used by some makers.

Bill Dizer
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Ed Minas

USA
44 Posts

Posted - 10/02/2017 :  15:13:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Bill. One could study paint for ever. From what I have found linseed oil was often used in the paint formula as well, and anyone you has ever used linseed oil knows it takes for ever to dry. Research also has pointed out that a lot paint at the turn of the century was prone to yellowing. Thanks for the interesting note you provided on japanning. It makes me appreciate how much work it was to build a bicycle in the day.
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Andrew Gorman

USA
585 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2017 :  15:08:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Most bicycles used "baking enamels" that were put into an oven to dry. The black asphalt/copal resin paints once baked on are pretty bomb proof- a 1930s Raleigh will buff up to a high gloss with some rubbing compound as long as the paint is still attached. I remember reading an article from the later 1890s saying that gaily painted bicycles were a fad in certain southern cities, but that bicycles, like all vehicles looked best in the black god intended for them.
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bjd.

USA
1494 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2017 :  18:25:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have a turn of the century glass bottle of bicycle paint, dark maroon, or red, still liquid. It is sealed with a cork, in what appears to be an original shipping container. The solids have long since settled to the bottom, but it looks like they might remix since it is very fluid liquid.

Bill Dizer
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Ed Minas

USA
44 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2017 :  05:48:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Andrew and Bill.
Andrew I saw a 1898 flier from "Neal's bicycle paint and supply. I would post it here but have no idea how to do so. It was very cool because it showed all the colors and like you say they sold a baking oven.

Bill that is amazing that you have bottle of paint.

It would be so much fun to be transported to 1898 for week and study all this.
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Ward Benjamin

USA
145 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2017 :  04:10:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I know Racycle mentioned in their catalogs that “other colors require a two week wait time on ordering and that a patch of silk would be required to match color”......

Restoring my Racycle
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Giovanni LiCalsi

USA
481 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2017 :  20:49:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
1896 Eclipse bicycles could be had in terra cotta.....

Kind regards,
Giovanni

Edited by - Giovanni LiCalsi on 12/28/2017 20:50:07
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LORNE SHIELDS

Canada
325 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2018 :  04:21:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ed Minas

Inquiring minds need to know.


This is currently on eBay and might add a lot of color in the quest for an answer:

Rare Bicycle Paint Chip Card Tiffany Enamel

http://r.ebay.com/CrUNvQ


In my experience it is a great price if someone wants to aquire this for the $25 as listed.

Regads to one and all.

Lorne Shields
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