Headbadge Lust Redux

Headbadge Lust Redux

Dear new bicycle manufacturers: I know that vinyl decals and stamped aluminum headbadges are easy-to-apply, inexpensive, and shave a few grams off your bicycle’s weight, but today I’m perusing the Flikr Bicycle Head Badge group pool and longing for the days when every bicycle was deserving of carefully-designed cast brass with raised designs, beautiful fonts, and enameled details.

Zenith, via. (Not actually in the pool but it should be.)

A mosaic of screencaps of some of the headbadges (also called nameplates) currently up on eBay: 
Ben Hur, Clipper, Cyclone 60 (Cyclone Jr in full colour here), EmpireLegnano
Ludwig (similar to Henderson), and Regent. I LOVE the look of these old badges.

(If the huge collection of photos on Flikr somehow leaves you wanting more eye candy, Jim Langley has posted photos of his nameplate collection too.)

Luckily some of the smaller bicycle manufacturers and handmade-bike designers (like Capricorn Bicycles, Rivendell, and Winter Bicycles) are still creating gorgeous headbadges. I also ran across Revolution Cycle Jewelry in my travels through Flikr – she is making custom headbadges using traditional metalworking techniques, of sterling silver, brass, and enamel. Beautiful work. There are also wonderful hand-sawn metal headbadges available from Etsy’s FutureCrash and Tangerine Treehouse (of Bike Moustache fame).

It makes me want to break out some fine silver metal clay, brass metal clay, and enamel powder and see if I can create a sintered-metal OOAK headbadge for a special badgeless bicycle… which would require a special jig to factor in the shrinkage during firing, since the sintered silver isn’t malleable… hmmmmmm….

PS: Remember I waxed poetic about the CCM Cleveland’s cut-out headbadge previously? For the record, there are a couple of eBay listings right now in the eBay store of vendor benzo_one in Quebec for the back plates for cutout-style CCM badges (so that’s how they achieved the pop of colour behind the cut-out!), and a bunch of head badges that look (from the configuration of the rivet holes, round or oval shape, and limited Canadian distribution) like they might be rebadged CCMs for various regional hardware and department stores. The names I noticed: Sunshine (Waterloo, ON), Victoria (Quebec), Majestic (Montreal), Maple LeafMonte Carlo, and Superior (Toronto). Please weigh in if you can confirm that any of these were CCM marques. (Update: most of them are not! See comment below from John Williamson.)

5 thoughts on “Headbadge Lust Redux

  1. Hello Deborah,
    Only the Superior headbadge is associated with CCM. It is marked Humphrey on the top, and CCM owned both the Humphrey Bicycle and Motor Co., and Standard Cycle Products of Toronto. It is true that CCM bicycles made for Department and Hardware stores carried many other names. As you know, CCM-made bicycles were badged as “Garry” for the J.H. Ashdon Hardware Co. of Winnipeg. Marshall-Wells sold CCM-made “Zenith” bicycles, and Canadian Tire sold CCM-made bicycles as early as the 1940’s in Eastern Canada. Eaton’s, Simpsons-Sears, and the Hudson’s Bay Co. all sold various types of CCM-made bicycles. CCM also turned out many slightly lower priced models under various names, such as Crown, Cadet, Crescent, and Hercules. Last year, I found a CCM bicycle with an “Air Glide” headbadge made in 1939. Many, but not all, of the relabeled CCM’s have cottered cranks with English UEK sprockets and crank arms.
    John Williamson

    P.S.: I hope you continue with all of the great bicycle-related posts.

  2. Thank you, John!!! (Other readers: John is *THE* CCM authority, so if he says something is unrelated to CCM, it’s the gospel truth.)

    Wow, it is amazing how many Canadian-made bicycles there were before WWII… Maybe I’ll do a followup post on any history I can find behind this particular group of headbadges. =D

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