I spent part of this afternoon checking out this lovely creature with Angel and Nicki. The Kijiji ad only said Antique Bike, so the single photo was what caught our eye. It looked superficially like 40s or 50s Raleigh-type loop frame – very similar to Mary Poppins – but really, it could have been manufactured by almost anyone. We knew from the photo that it had a coaster brake, vinyl saddle, bottle-generator light set, Wald-type wire basket, and clamp-style rear rack. So we went to see. Then Nicki bought it. The former owner’s earliest memories of it are from about 1957 in Westlock (near Edmonton).
The chainring is one I hadn’t seen anywhere: the closest I’ve found online is 1940s USA unknown manufacturer, according to the chainwheel tattoo project page (aside: that chainwheel sleeve is going to be *hot*). The cranks are cotterless, and the replaceable rubber pads on the left and right pedals don’t match each other. Hopefully we’ll find an identifying stamp when we’re cleaning the crankset. I think we’re going to install the Pletcher kickstand that came with Bert on here too.
The single-speed coaster-brake hub has a metal oiler cap, and is stamped CANADIAN PAT. 1937 – it turns out you can read the actual patent online. Turns out this single coaster hub was manufactured by The Canada Cycle and Motor Company, now known simply as hockey-equipment makers CCM. A little history of CCM’s cycle division can be found at Wikipedia and the Canada Science and Technology Museum website.
The tires read NEW IRC ROADSTER, SIZE 700 x 38, 28 x 1-1/2 CANADIAN SIZE. That valve for the inner tube is a harder-to-find Presta valve. No marks that we found on the painted rims. Notice that there’s some red paint on the spoke nipples – evidence of repainting, or just sloppy work on the factory floor?
No idea if they work.
After some research online, we now think that this might be a Raleigh-manufactured Eaton’s Glider. Sheldon Brown is remarkably silent about the Glider, saying only that it was a Raleigh-made house brand of Eaton’s in Canada, so let me provide you with some context.
To quote Raleigh Chopper Info, talking about rebranding of Raleigh bicycles in Canada:
However, the largest re-branding operation carried out in Canada was through the Eaton chain of department stores. Eatons were a large department store, based in the larger cities in Canada. Formed in 1869, Eatons were one of the first large Canadian owned Department stores, but of course one factor hindered their growth, Canada is a very large country, and its small population was very widespread. The answer was the mail order catalogue. The Eatons catalogue became a way of life for Canadian families throughout the early decades, and absolutely everything was available from it. Eatons realised early on that it needed a good reliable range of bicycles to sell. With no dealer network to service warranties, any defective items had to be mailed back to Eatons. This meant reliability in everything they sold was a priority. Eatons turned to England’s Raleigh to supply a range of bikes for sale through the catalogues. Raleigh supplied a range of bike called the “Glider”. These bikes were built to Raleigh standards at the Nottingham factory and badged up as “Eaton Gliders”. This relationship proved a success, Eatons got a reliable supply of good quality bikes, and Raleigh got an independent widespread distribution network.
Gliders included the standard Raleigh 3-speed, as this owner notes:
I noticed that this bike resembled a typical Raleigh Sports (of which my Raleigh Superbe is an upgraded version), in that it had a pointy front fender, Sturmey Archer hub (dated 10 – 72), and the whole geometry just looked very familiar. The name on it said “Eaton’s Glider”, and Eaton’s was until recently one of Canada’s largest department store chains. I found out later that Raleigh supplied all of Eaton’s bikes, starting way back in the 1920’s! So, this one was basically a re-badged Raleigh Sports.
Loop-frame ladies’ Gliders were also offered, as this owner’s bike shows (follow the link for his photos for comparison to Nicki’s bike).
So what about the tires, non-SA hub, non-Raleigh chainwheel, and so forth? Well, if you look at the photos above, the bike looks like it was repainted at some point. Here’s our theory: somebody left the bike out all winter for a couple of years when they were no longer using it, then it got new tires, a new seat, new handles, replacement bottom bracket set, and a new paint job – and possibly a new chain guard – sometime in the 1950s. This might sound far-fetched, except that a Glider with similar replacement parts to this one has been documented by a user on the OldRoads forum (about 1/3 of the way down the page).
The way to confirm this hypothesis will be to see if we can find the frame serial numbers in the Raleigh database, compare the frame and handlebar measurements to mine to confirm they’re identical, and see if there are twin rivet holes where the Eaton’s Glider headbadge would have gone.
An alternative hypothesis, and a simpler story, is that this is a CCM-built bicycle with CCM parts. Occam’s Razor says that’s more likely, after all. If we disconfirm our Glider hypothesis with measurements, I think we’ll definitely need to research the bikes listed by the Canada Science and Technology Museum: the Cleveland, Silver Ribbon, Ivanhoe, Perfect, Columbia, Rambler, and so on.
Bike cleaning party tomorrow – stay tuned!
Update 1: Flikr seems to be siding with the Occam’s Razor hypothesis that this is a CCM bike. No loop-frames for comparison, but check this stuff out:
First off, for rivet hole placement where the headbadge should be:
– the classic CCM headbadge:
– an alternative (off-label) headbadge with same rivet hole spacing:
– same chromed fork crown:
– and same cranks (different chainwheel) & chainguard:
– and same coaster hub:
– on this balloon-tire CCM cruiser:
– same fork crown:
– possible missing decal:
– another headbadge beauty shot, note the pinstriping:
– and same chainguard and rear rack, all on this 1942 CCM Rambler:
Confirmation one way or the other tomorrow afternoon…
Update 2: I found some more CCM goodies through a Google Images search.
First of all, Gerry Lauzon at howtofixbikes.ca has an indispensable post about finding his 1950 CCM ladies-frame bike, which includes serial number information. The photos show a bicycle that’s very similar to Nicki’s. He went on to do a series of posts at a separate blog about the restoration and rebuild process for “Victoria” that’s pretty interesting reading.
It just so happens that we took a photo of the serial number. It’s a bit blurry, but it looks to me like it’s xxxxxC, which corresponds to a 1951 manufacture date.
Montreal’s La Bicycletterie J.R. have great photos right now of another restored 1950 CCM loop-frame bicycle that they’re selling, including one of a more recent headbadge than seen in the Flikr examples, with a red-painted background and the same rivet spacing as the others. Again, the bike looks eerily like Nicki’s, right down to the red tire rims with white pinstripes. I love that they’ve swapped out the plastic handles for cork ones. Yum.
The Canadian Design Resource post on the CCM Imperial Mark II includes a great photo of that same CCM headbadge, sans red paint, and CCM-marked fork crown – and some post-1960 serial number information in the comments.
Finally, one more neat link: North Vancouver’s HUKK Bikes have photos of a 1940s CCM bicycle they sold which features an original painted headbadge, which was used instead of the embossed metal one due to rationing.
My money is now on this lovely bicycle being a 1951 CCM. We’ll find out for sure tomorrow, I guess. So, what should we name her?