Bluebird Technical Discussion 1935-1937


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Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
15,042
14,758
Evans, GA
#1
The Elgin Bluebird is perhaps the most iconic prewar bicycle there is. Yet, it seems, there is a lot we don't know about these bikes. This thread is for technical discussions to try and get at some of the nuances of these bikes. So I'll start off first by re-hashing some of what we went over in other threads. Below are pics of the underneath of both my original BB and Extra Crispy (EC) (my project bird). Joe B. theorizes that the first bikes had these two welds. Additionally both of my bikes have straight (not dogleg) crank arms, the early seat post design (not reinforced-a fatty), and neither have alemite fittings in the bottom bracket. The serial number on my original paint bike is N126869 and EC is 128124 and both have "B10" stamped separately. Redline1968's bike has the alemite fittings, evidently no welds underneath tank, and is a darker blue. Serial is N153133 with "B11". Obviously a later bike but does this represent a change somewhere in '35 or is it a '36 model?

At some point I hope we can gather enough information and reach consensus in order to produce a monograph on these bikes. Anyone having a '35-37 ONLY please feel free to share as much as you have on these bikes. V/r Shawn

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redline1968

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Oct 16, 2008
4,698
2,975
Seattle, United States
#2
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It's not later it's the same 1935. I have no neck reinforcements and here evidence of N in the numbers indicates 35. This blue was reapplied by the owner who bought the bike originally. It's quite Possibly yours were built by another employee who used this technique of brazing since they were hand built. Just in case Here are some pics I previously posted to help you in your quest.
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
15,042
14,758
Evans, GA
#5
View attachment 304801 View attachment 304800 View attachment 304798 View attachment 304795 View attachment 304792 It's not later it's the same 1935. I have no neck reinforcements and here evidence of N in the numbers indicates 35. This blue was reapplied by the owner who bought the bike originally. It's quite Possibly yours were built by another employee who used this technique of brazing since they were hand built. Just in case Here are some pics I previously posted to help you in your quest.
I doubt this was an employee doing his own thing as my bikes are 1255 bikes apart by serial #. This looks to have been a standard thing for the early bikes as Chris' features these same two welds according to Joe B. I would like to know what the serial on Chris' bike is? V/r Shawn
 

redline1968

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Oct 16, 2008
4,698
2,975
Seattle, United States
#6
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In keeping with the technical features of the bike I've done some measurements in areas including the spposed reinforcement above the tank seat tube. This is what I found upper seat tube is 1 1/16 and the lower tube below the tank is also 1 1/16 inches. The front lower is 1 1/8" pics for references. based on my measurements there is no change for the fatty tube change over.
 
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Nickinator

Riding my '38 Deluxe Bluebird
Jul 21, 2011
5,341
2,160
Mpls, MN
#12
From what i have visually seen on the birds is on the SN B10 B12 B11 are all very close in age as i have come to the thought that A is the first year of Westfield made elgins B is year 2 and the digits after the letter is the month it was made in. So I think all these bikes were made in late 35 and sold in 36 due to the months they were made. Nick.


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redline1968

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Oct 16, 2008
4,698
2,975
Seattle, United States
#13
Are you inferencing that the 36 all had no reinforcements and that the brazing is the ultimate sign for a 35. I have to disagree from other people which I know are very knowledgable have pointed out the color and reinforcement changes were a 36's the brazing serves no purpose other than a assembly technique. I have no explanation on the fittings other than they were installed on the late 35's due to the changes. The n code prefix is 35. Whith the alpha numeric change indicates a company change and points to a time after 35 say 36. The B-10 11 12 prefixes are interesting. probably wrong but I feel the represents the month of manufacture since it was introduced 3 months of 35. I.e. B-10 could represent October 1935 and so on.
 
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Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
15,042
14,758
Evans, GA
#15
I'm inclined to agree with Redline here. "N" indicates 1935, "A" 1936, and "B" 1937 according to Mr. Columbia's (Ken) site. This said it would appear that somewhere late '35 Westfield stopped the welds/brazing on the bottom of the tank and added the alemite fittings to the bottom bracket. Joe thinks his is a late '36 which the "B12", if indicating month, would confirm. I would like to see some bikes with lower "B" markings so we could get a feel if this is a month indicator or maybe model? V/r Shawn
 

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