A Latta Bike


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fordsnake

I live for the CABE
May 12, 2010
1,841
622
#1
Latta Bike

I recently won this Latta Bros., bike on eBay…at the time the seller didn’t have any history on it since the bike didn’t have a badge on it.
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Because the seller didn't have a clue as to the maker and he couldn’t remove the hanger, hence him selling it!
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At first my research led me to think it was a TOC Ben Hur? It’s similar in appearance, but the tubing, fork and chainring seemed different?
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At first glance the hanger looked like any other one-piece crank arm, but it isn't! There are no pins or bolts to hold the arms on. At first I quickly felt the pain of the seller...his frustration as to how to remove it? I tried a pulley, but had no luck…then I noticed the crank arm had a sleeve that slotted over the center of the sprocket. So I thought, is it possible that the chainring screwed on? Sure enough, by unscrewing the chainring the crank arm slowly slid off the slotted post…a genius of an idea!

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The crank is stamped Latta. Nov.9, 97 BINGO! This is what I needed to discern the maker...I now had the piece of the puzzle as to the manufacturer.

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With the name Latta...I began a deep dive, it turned out the name belongs to the Latta Bros of Friendship, Allegany County, New York, and they were no joke when it came to building bicycles!

The crank arm was one of Emmit G. Latta many designs...the fact is E. G. Latta made scores of patents for bicycles, more than any one man. Over 80 patents were granted on his bicycle inventions. Latta sold many of his patents to the Colonel Albert Augustus Pope, of the “Pope Manufacturing Company,” the leading US producer of bicycles. There was not a bicycle made at the time that did not contain some of his inventions.
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Here's a interesting back story on Emmit Latta, he apparently “came from a line of distinguished soldiers in all the Colonial and Indian wars”. He received a common school education, and during the Civil War, in 1864, when but 15, he enlisted in the US Artillery without his parent's consent (the military forbid young men under the age of 18 to join).

Latta's father, Samuel E. Latta, wrote to President Abraham Lincoln, and obtained a special order to discharge the young Emmit. Latta was immediately discharged, but after two months at home, he re-enlisted again and served until the close of the Civil War. After the war, he enlisted for a third time and served a full term in Company A, 4th U.S. Infantry, where he spent his time as an engineer, helping to locate the Pacific railroad through the Rocky Mountains and exploring the Yellowstone and Black Hills region before the discovery of gold. He was twice wounded by Indians.

He finally left the service in 1869 and returned home to Friendship, New York, where he established himself as an entrepreneur and an inventor, patenting scores of inventions.

Here’s another one of Emmitt’s accomplishments ... the typewriter! E.G. Latta may be regarded as being one of the greatest typewriter inventors of all time. Among his 176 patents, beginning in 1881, 58 were for the typewriters or typewriter parts. http://oztypewriter.blogspot.com/2011/07/on-this-day-in-typewriter-history-xlii.html



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Brother Adrian C. Latta, was no slouch either in the patent department, he made several contributions also. Among those coming into general use was the twisted barb wire fence, twisting together two wires and inserting barbs.
 
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fordsnake

I live for the CABE
May 12, 2010
1,841
622
#2
This frame is really unique…it has beefy tubing. Unlike most TOC bikes, this frame uses 1.24” tubes, the same size as most steering tubes.
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Emmitt Girdell Latta and Adrian C. Latta of Friendship, NY, established an emporium business in 1873. In 1879, the two young men added a bicycle department, and in 1884 they began exclusively manufacturing bicycles.
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By 1899, the Latta Brothers Company was the oldest exclusive cycle house in New York State and third in the United States. Their brand name franchise consisted of: Alert, American Express, Express, American Pilot, Pilot, Reliant, Sensible and Tip Top.

What was really cool ...they guaranteed their bikes for a year.
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sqrly

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Dec 13, 2008
506
7
Dixon, IL
#6
I ran out if money and lost my attempt to win that bike. I would be interested in buying it.
 

bikewhorder

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Nov 9, 2011
6,816
5,746
Midcoast, ME
#7
I gave that one some serious consideration but I wasn't too excited about trying to find the parts to fix what I assumed was blown out B/B. I was the one asking about it in the Q&A. Looks like you did your homework so you definitely deserve it. Nice Score.
 

hoofhearted

Saint Lactose The Tolerant
Jan 20, 2010
3,632
4,696
Fairborn, Ohio
#9
CARLTON ... EXCELLENT WIN !!!!!!!!

Check Out The Rear Stays Again ................. patric

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Likes: Boris

bikewhorder

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Nov 9, 2011
6,816
5,746
Midcoast, ME
#10
So in 1897 a $50 bike was about $1388 in todays dollars. That Image of the express model is absolutely gorgeous and the sprocket/crank arm puller is ingenious. I look forward to seeing what you do with it.
 

fordsnake

I live for the CABE
May 12, 2010
1,841
622
#11
Patric, I know the metal tubing on this frame is awesome, the fork and stays are hollow, not solid metal. It's hard to see the indentations covered over by the multiple layers of paint...but this thing is really awesome!
 

JChapoton

Finally riding a big boys bike
Feb 9, 2013
260
7
45
#18
This is the badge I'm looking for and will pay top dollar it!
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I would suggest having this badge repopped. Maybe this guy can make you one.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Custom-Personalized-Bicycle-Head-Badge-made-to-order-/231016430711?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35c9a6fc77


According to Daves Vintage Bicycles at Nostalgic.net, that is a rare antique head badge. I am thinking it is worth as much as the rest of the bike if you ever find one.
http://www.nostalgic.net/rare-antique-bicycle-badges

I scoured the internet for three hours and didn't see any for sale.
 

66TigerCat

I live for the CABE
Jul 12, 2009
1,271
410
Newton, MA, United States
#19
Sweet bike !

Can't wait to see it completed. Good luck finding the badge.

Speaking of re-popped head badges-Anyone know someone that makes enamel badges ? I have an Orient that's missing the enamel center piece. It fits inside a brass bezel.

Jim
 

GiovanniLiCalsi

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 29, 2012
3,006
744
Alameda, California
#20
I would suggest having this badge repopped. Maybe this guy can make you one.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Custom-Personalized-Bicycle-Head-Badge-made-to-order-/231016430711?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35c9a6fc77


According to Daves Vintage Bicycles at Nostalgic.net, that is a rare antique head badge. I am thinking it is worth as much as the rest of the bike if you ever find one.
http://www.nostalgic.net/rare-antique-bicycle-badges

I scoured the internet for three hours and didn't see any for sale.
To reproduce this badge, it would need to be made using the lost wax method.
A photo-etched badge wouldn't have the original look.
 

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