1895 - COLUMBIA - Track - factory racer - "EDDIE BALD"

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corbettclassics

I live for the CABE
Feb 11, 2012
1,431
Burbank, United States
RAREST OF THE RARE ... !!!

1895/96 Columbia Model #44 "Blue Rimmed" Factory Racer

Columbia was racing their "Blue Rims" since about 1892. They called them the "Blue Rimmed" Racers. Other bicycle manufacturers had their own - like the Gormully - Rambler "Copper Rimmed" racer or the Wolf-American with their "White Rimmed" racer or even the Orient and their "Purple Rimmed" racers. There are others but more later when I show those factory racers.

This bike came from Carl Burgwardt many years ago ( early 80's ). Carl had a knack for finding racing machines. Unfortunately the story has been lost in the last 35 or more yrs but it is strongly believed that this bike is the actual bike raced by the great Eddie "Cannon" Bald. The main identifying feature of the bike when it was found in Buffalo ( where Bald is from ) is that only Eddie Bald raced with this particular style bar. These bars are very specific and only he raced with them late in 1895 and into the '96 season before he went to Barnes to race the "White Flyer". When he raced with Columbia in '95 all the team members raced with the factory Columbia bar as seen by the lithograph in my collection ( photo attached ). Other team members were Ray Macdonald and W.F. Sims ( who used to race for Gormully on a Model #4 before joining Columbia ). It was late in 1895 that E.C. Bald changed to these bars and this is how the bike was found. There is one other identifying frame feature on the bike this bike has that seems to identify it as his racer.

I'm not quite finished the restoration but it's close enough to show a couple photos anyway. I'm not saying 100% that this is Eddie Bald's bike but ... what are the chances of a Model #44 that he raced with having these bars and being found in Buffalo where he raced!

> Tires are Robert Dean 1-1/2" smoothed down.

I still need to change out the toe clips for the ones Bald raced with later in the year. The ones on it now are when he raced early in '95 with those original stock Columbia bars. The bike was found without the toe clips.


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An original Lithograph showing the Columbia team in their racing colors. It is the only known picture showing the Columbia colors. Appox 3ft x 2ft hanging in my office. ( colors modified slightly here )

We know this is 1895 because of the handle bars and the toe clips. Also, with a magnifying glass you can clearly see the artist sketched in "44" on the badge.

Asa Windle is Eddie Bald's handler and he kept him throughout his racing career. Asa Windle was the cousin of the great Willie Windle champion cyclist.

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Last edited:

Dweber

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jan 22, 2012
217
St. Louis, MO.
Beautiful Restoration! In a class of its own!
 

Craig Allen

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jun 23, 2016
165
65
Millville NJ
I have my doubts about this bike as beautiful as it is. The 1895 catalog illustration of the model 44 racer shows the top tube on a downward angle towards the seat tube contrary to this machine which appears much more horizontal. The only conclusion that is left (and I hope I am wrong) is the namebadge doesn't belong to this bike and was added to it post manufacture. So did Carl Burgwardt misrepresent this particular wheel just for the benefit of his museum displays?
 
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corbettclassics

I live for the CABE
Feb 11, 2012
1,431
Burbank, United States
I have my doubts about this bike as beautiful as it is. The 1895 catalog illustration of the model 44 racer shows the top tube on a downward angle towards the seat tube contrary to this machine which appears much more horizontal. The only conclusion that is left (and I hope I am wrong) is the namebadge doesn't belong to this bike and was added to it post manufacture. So did Carl Burgwardt misrepresent this particular wheel just for the benefit of his museum displays?
Sorry to disappoint you Craig but it does actually have a downward slope. Please look closely to observe the photo and you’ll notice that it’s in a stand that raises the back wheel off the ground by an inch or two. I have a side shot of it without the stand and it’s clearly 100% as the catalogue - that I can guarantee you!
 
Last edited:

Craig Allen

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jun 23, 2016
165
65
Millville NJ
I am not disappointed but happy to be wrong. Thank you for the correction.
 
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olderthandirt

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jun 15, 2012
491
pilot mt n.c.
ok ok i want to know whats the top speed you come to my house my wife will sag you to the top of pilot mountain and set you out i will pace you down in my porsche cayman and well get a true speed reading ok ! debbie is a nurse in case you do not make it down she can pronounce you ! and oh yes we have much bigger mountains if feel the need ! . love those blue rims want to see them spin and yes the rest of the bike is very very very nice i would have to ride it at speed at least one time !
 
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corbettclassics

I live for the CABE
Feb 11, 2012
1,431
Burbank, United States
I am not disappointed but happy to be wrong. Thank you for the correction.
Hi Craig,

Here's a pic I took the other day in the same spot where I actually had it off the stand. I cropped the bottom up to the hub nut dropouts to line it up as it sits level on the ground. I cropped the top down so it's easier to see the top tube slope.

I'll get better pics when I can for you if you like. You can see the downward slope of the top tube. My 1894 Columbia #37 Racer Twin tube also has a downward slope top tube. My 1898 Columbia Model 49 Racer also had a slight downward top tube slope but not as much as the Model 44 does. The next racer that Columbia made was the 1902 Model 83 and this is where they basically leveled out the top tube. I have that Model 83 in the collection also. I've had all the racers from 1894 to 1903 and the top tube slope has always been of interest to me so I've always compared them.

Here's the Model 44 side shot for now:

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olderthandirt

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jun 15, 2012
491
pilot mt n.c.
nice bike ! i want one ! love the blue rims and the nickel is perfect ! i think it may be fast
 
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