1900 Melvin coaster 3-crown Frame ID

Most Recent BUY IT NOW Items Listed on eBay
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture

Ricker

Finally riding a big boys bike
Hello CABE-
I picked up a 3-crown TOC bike that I would love to identify. Mr Melvin received the patent for a coaster brake in 1900. This bike came from Mr Melvin's great grand daughter. The coaster is one of his, but I can't get it apart yet- it is attached to a Thor rear hub. It also has a Thor front hub and a Thor seat expander stamped pat pending. I believe the original color is light blue or robin's egg blue (paint remnants found) and the lug work is very distinctive. The lugs are on both sides of the tubing. Serial number is 807. The whole frame was nickel plated but I am not sure what was left exposed, looks like the crowns were so far.
The head badge holes are also very distinctive wrapping around the head tube and not horizontal to each other- photo has red lines around holes from back side of head tube. Photos:
Melvin 3-crown 01.JPG
Melvin 3-crown chain stays.JPG
Melvin 3-crown lugs.JPG
Melvin 3-crown headbadge holes 7-13-21.png


Melvin 3-crown rear eccentric.JPG
Melvin 3-crown serial.JPG
 

Blue Streak

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Here are two Melvin Coaster Brake ads from 1900 and two patents:

April 15, 1900 issue of The Saint Paul Globe (St Paul MN)
1453973


May 13, 1900 issue of The Saint Paul Globe (St Paul MN)
1453974



Charles H. Melvin Back Pedaling Brake Patent No. 648,971 (May 8, 1900)
1453975

1453976

1453977

1453978

1453979

1453980




Charles H. Melvin Back Pedaling Brake Patent No. 648,972 (May 8, 1900)
1453981

1453982

1453983

1453984

1453986
 
Last edited:

Ricker

Finally riding a big boys bike
Thank you very much for the fantastic information! I have been digging into the FM Smith connection and had run across the “gopher” but not the “summit”. The envelope I got with the bike has a few of the patent sheets but are poor scans so the high quality of yours will be really helpful with getting the rear hub apart to clean and make functional.

Melvin lived in the twin cities area so I suspect that he had a connection with FM Smith Bros since they sold the brake and there may be good odds that the bike came from their shop. The ads seem to put it right around 1900 so this is great- probably as much as I will be able to find short of a gopher or summit badge to see where the holes line up.

really great!
Rick
 

Blue Streak

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Your frame's triple crown design and lugs look a lot like 1898 Manson (they changed lug design for 1899) but appears Manson did not have eccentric rear chain adjusters until 1900 and different frame details. Crankset looks like Fauber. Manson badge holes do not match yours. So probably not a Manson but a lot of similarities. Will keep looking.

March 1898:
1454062


1454061


April 1898:
1454063


April 1898:
1454064


December 1898 - Article about company making eccentric chain adjusters in Milwaukee:
1454065

1454066


January 1900 - Manson with eccentric chain adjuster although does not look exactly like yours:
1454067


1454068


September 1902 - Manson and Sherman Cycle Companies become part of Great Western Manufacturing:
1454069


October 1904 - Manson advertised with Thor hubs:
1454070
 

Ricker

Finally riding a big boys bike
I agree, I don't think it is a Manson. The early 3 crowns had a model with Fauber cranks and lugs that look similar in the ads but they don't have the eccentric. I haven't see the eccentric bottom bracket on the few Manson's on the internet, they always have the dropout eccentric or traditional slots- I have wondered if it was ever really done that way. I don't think it is a Fauber frame either - their lugs for the 3 crown were only on the outside and had a different pattern (according to the ads) and then later they had the 3 crown method shown in the ad above or possibly one that was two halves welded that incorporated the BB shell and then twisted 90 degrees (so the BB shell was perpendicular). That article also showed the stays as a part of the whole and not just a lug. I will try to find that article. My best guess is that it is a private label bike for the bike shop, so more of a jobber bike. The patent drawings are interesting since it looks like the artist used this frame in the drawings for the brake.
 

Blue Streak

Wore out three sets of tires already!
With a little more digging I am going to go out on a limb and say your bicycle is a 1899-1900 Gopher Special made and sold by F. M. Smith & Bros. of St Paul MN. Gopher Bicycles were sold 1896-1902 (1902's may have been left over 1901 models).

F. M. Smith & Bros. also made and sold the Melvin Coaster Brake.

F. M. Smith stopped making bicycles late 1901, his wife sold off inventory in 1902, then one 1903 ad says a new company is making the Gopher, but nothing more after that.

The Gopher Bicycle logo is horizontal and may have translated into a badge that wrapped around the head tube and fastened on back side like your frame has.

Here are some references that to lead to the above conclusion:

April 1896 - Earliest ad found:
1454187


May 1896:
1454188


May 1897:
1454189


January 1898 - States F. M. Smith manufactured the Gopher Special:
1454190


March 1898:
1454191


April 1899:
1454192


April 1899:
1454193


May 1899 - Specifically discusses eccentric chain adjusters:
1454194

1454195

1454196


June 1899:
1454197


June 1899 - Star front sprocket:
1454199

1454198


June 1899 - Light blue colored Gopher Specials and F. M. Smith & Bros. new coaster brake:
1454201


April 1900
1454202


May 1900 - Gopher Bicycles and Melvin Coaster Brake in same ad:
1454203


May 1900 - Melvin Coaster Brake and Gopher Special light blue in same ad:
1454204


September 1900 - Melvin ad:
1454205


November 1901 - Smith our of business:
1454206


March 1902:
1454207


April 1902: Mrs. F. M. Smith now in charge:
1454208


March 1903:
1454212
 

Ricker

Finally riding a big boys bike
Wow! I am speechless at your finds!

I think your assumption is the most plausible, especially considering the light blue paint -

Thank you! When I have time to work on this bike I will post more photos.

Rick
 

Blue Streak

Wore out three sets of tires already!
A couple final references for now:

December 1898 - Only 500 bicycles to be made in 1899 seems to make sense with your 807 serial number and thinking it is an 1899 model (this would mean they made 600-700 total for 1896-1898 which seems believable). F. M. Smith & Bros. appears to have been a small volume manufacturing company that sold mostly in the St Paul MN area:
1454272

1454273


March 1899:
1454274

1454275


January 1902:
1454276


January 1902:
1454277
 
Top