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Ca. 1896 Schwinn "The World" Men's

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Jesse McCauley

McCauley Cycle Works
Exciting start to the week-
Monday night I got a message from a guy I sold an old project bike to locally about a old Schwinn on craigslist just inside the border of WV .
Two photos and a brief description of indeed an "Old Schwinn" -

I called with no semblance of poker-voice, I told him what I thought it was, how much I wanted to be the next steward, and asked him when/where.
His price was modest, he was kind enough to pull it down from CL immediately after only a couple hours of being listed.
I was happy to give him over asking and he was happy to see this bicycle go out into the collectors community.

So the backstory on the bike as I have it:
Owned last by a now deceased sign maker / motorcycle builder / antiques dealer / renaissance man in Martinsville, WV.
From the story I was told his collection was impressive.

Apparently a flood some decades ago claimed an outbuilding where this bicycle had lived for many years prior.
His neighbor and apprentice was cleaning up his yard and found it in a mud pit, he was told to toss it.
Instead he snuck it in a broke down box truck next door they used for runoff storage.

Flash forward 30 years:
The original owner has passed, his collection dispersed; The now veteran sign builder apprentice owns the properties his predecessor once owned and is in the process of selling all of it so he can take to the road in his oversized Mercedes van.

The CL photos are from inside the box truck that sheltered it from the elements for the last lifetime, still there when I went to pick it up.

Perhaps the dirtiest bicycle I've ever handled. Caked with flood mud, every exposed tube that could have been filled with mud was, fortunately just a couple areas.
Shown is a closeup of the block chain to get an impression of how this whole bike looked when I got it.

This machine sports a 24" seat tube - Serial No. 1016
Placeholder wheelset just to get it off the ground while I clean the the gear.
More pictures to follow as I get some work done on it, just going to clean in this stage.

Schwinn World2.jpg


Schwinn World1.jpg


Schwinn World cleaned with wheels.jpg


Schwinn World Serial.jpg


World Gear pre clean.jpg


World chain.jpg
 

Blue Streak

Finally riding a big boys bike
The World serial number references:

From 1896 issues of The Referee:

World SN 2709 was stolen during the week ending June 16, 1896
World SN 1984 was stolen during the week ending July 14, 1896
World SN 1980 was stolen during the week ending October 27, 1896
World SN 2242 was stolen during the week ending October 27, 1896

From October 17, 1895 issue of The Bearings, Schwinn planned to build 6000 bicycles for 1896.
1338377
 

Jeff54

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
The World serial number references:

From 1896 issues of The Referee:

World SN 2709 was stolen during the week ending June 16, 1896
World SN 1984 was stolen during the week ending July 14, 1896
World SN 1980 was stolen during the week ending October 27, 1896
World SN 2242 was stolen during the week ending October 27, 1896

From October 17, 1895 issue of The Bearings, Schwinn planned to build 6000 bicycles for 1896.
View attachment 1338377
Yes, of course, I did not mean to imply that, this is, like, thee oldest, but at "Serial No. 1016" it is "Possibly" the oldest Model 2. Light Roadster known to still exist. ;)

schwinn-world-serial-jpg.jpg
 
Last edited:

cyclingday

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
It looks like the difference between the model 1 and the model 2, was the model 2 got lighter weight tires, saddle and pedals.
Since the saddle chassis appears to be the only original part left from those specifications, it looks like determining what that saddle chassis is, will determine if it’s a model 1 or a model 2.
Good stuff!
Thanks for posting, Blue Streak.
 
Last edited:

Blue Streak

Finally riding a big boys bike
More more early references to the formation and history of the company. They confirm Arnold, Schwinn & Co. was formed October 1895 and that 1896 was first year The World bicycle was produced and that over 5000 were manufactured that first year.

October 18, 1895 - The Wheel:
1338665


November 1, 1895 - The Wheel:
1338666


1338667


November 8, 1895 - The Wheel:
1338668


November 22, 1895 - The Wheel:
1338669


December 13, 1895 - The Wheel:
1338670


December 20, 1895 - The Wheel:
1338671


December 27, 1895 - The Wheel:
1338672


1338673


January 24, 1896 - The Wheel:
1338674


April 2, 1897 - The Wheel:
1338675


December 17, 1897 - The Wheel:
1338676


December 24, 1897 - The Wheel:
1338677
 

Jeff54

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Here is description of 1896 World models:
View attachment 1338432
Plenty of reading material between my greasy hand time today!
Thank you @Jeff54 @cyclingday and @Blue Streak for the original reference material!

Time for some close bicycle study!
Here is an other topic, searching for anything in 1898 and older by @Freqman1
https://thecabe.com/forum/members/freqman1.4154/

(1) Oldest Schwinn Privately Owned | All Things Schwinn | The Classic and Antique Bicycle Exchange (thecabe.com)

And there's a photo that's particularly interesting that I have not seen noted before: The front chain wheel is not the same as shown in catalogs and such. Plus in background, right corner, appears to be forks hanging on something, two colored. Presumably, lower half of forks are Nickel plated. At right center; White tiers on the bikes. This photo is suppose to be 1895 but I have my doubts as to accuracy of that claim. . :

full?d=1515351726.jpg



(1) Oldest Schwinn Privately Owned | All Things Schwinn | The Classic and Antique Bicycle Exchange (thecabe.com)
 
Last edited:

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Probably need to ask the mods to merge these two threads and call it the "Pre-1900 Schwinn Thread" Since this bike came to light I have some additional observations on these early bikes. V/r Shawn
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Here is an other topic, searching for anything in 1898 and older by @Freqman1
https://thecabe.com/forum/members/freqman1.4154/

(1) Oldest Schwinn Privately Owned | All Things Schwinn | The Classic and Antique Bicycle Exchange (thecabe.com)

And there's a photo that's particularly interesting that I have not seen noted before: The front chain wheel is not the same as shown in catalogs and such. Plus in background, right corner, appears to be forks hanging on something, two colored. Presumably, lower half of forks are Nickel plated. At right center; White tiers on the bikes. This photo is suppose to be 1895 but I have my doubts as to accuracy of that claim. . :

View attachment 1338783


(1) Oldest Schwinn Privately Owned | All Things Schwinn | The Classic and Antique Bicycle Exchange (thecabe.com)
My guess is that photo is about 1897. At least a couple of the early bikes in the BMA are incorrectly dated. I believe Schwinn spent the last part of '95 setting up the factory and getting the business side situated in order to hit it hard for '96. V/r Shawn
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Exciting start to the week-
Monday night I got a message from a guy I sold an old project bike to locally about a old Schwinn on craigslist just inside the border of WV .
Two photos and a brief description of indeed an "Old Schwinn" -

I called with no semblance of poker-voice, I told him what I thought it was, how much I wanted to be the next steward, and asked him when/where.
His price was modest, he was kind enough to pull it down from CL immediately after only a couple hours of being listed.
I was happy to give him over asking and he was happy to see this bicycle go out into the collectors community.

So the backstory on the bike as I have it:
Owned last by a now deceased sign maker / motorcycle builder / antiques dealer / renaissance man in Martinsville, WV.
From the story I was told his collection was impressive.

Apparently a flood some decades ago claimed an outbuilding where this bicycle had lived for many years prior.
His neighbor and apprentice was cleaning up his yard and found it in a mud pit, he was told to toss it.
Instead he snuck it in a broke down box truck next door they used for runoff storage.

Flash forward 30 years:
The original owner has passed, his collection dispersed; The now veteran sign builder apprentice owns the properties his predecessor once owned and is in the process of selling all of it so he can take to the road in his oversized Mercedes van.

The CL photos are from inside the box truck that sheltered it from the elements for the last lifetime, still there when I went to pick it up.

Perhaps the dirtiest bicycle I've ever handled. Caked with flood mud, every exposed tube that could have been filled with mud was, fortunately just a couple areas.
Shown is a closeup of the block chain to get an impression of how this whole bike looked when I got it.

This machine sports a 24" seat tube - Serial No. 1016
Placeholder wheelset just to get it off the ground while I clean the the gear.
More pictures to follow as I get some work done on it, just going to clean in this stage.

View attachment 1338235

View attachment 1338236

View attachment 1338237

View attachment 1338238

View attachment 1338239

View attachment 1338240
Unless the girls bike in the BMA has an earlier serial this is it. Although the bike in the BMA is identified as a '95 its actually at least a '96 and possibly a '97. It would be interesting to know if Schwinn started their serial number system with "1", "1000", or maybe "1001"? V/r Shawn
 

Patrick FitzGerald

On Training Wheels
Here is an other topic, searching for anything in 1898 and older by @Freqman1
https://thecabe.com/forum/members/freqman1.4154/

(1) Oldest Schwinn Privately Owned | All Things Schwinn | The Classic and Antique Bicycle Exchange (thecabe.com)

And there's a photo that's particularly interesting that I have not seen noted before: The front chain wheel is not the same as shown in catalogs and such. Plus in background, right corner, appears to be forks hanging on something, two colored. Presumably, lower half of forks are Nickel plated. At right center; White tiers on the bikes. This photo is suppose to be 1895 but I have my doubts as to accuracy of that claim. . :

View attachment 1338783


(1) Oldest Schwinn Privately Owned | All Things Schwinn | The Classic and Antique Bicycle Exchange (thecabe.com)
Jesse, that photo appears to have been taken in the basement of Arnold & Schwinn's first production facility at Lake and Peoria which still stands. Note the high windows to admit some daylight at a time when electric lighting was not yet adequate for close work. It was likely a long exposure as can be seen by the fact that the face of the man nearest the camera and the hands of the man at the bench appear to have been retouched, presumably because they moved while the shutter was open and were blurred. This was common when negatives were large and could be easily retouched by hand.

I've owned the 6-story + basement building since 1999 and have wondered what space A & S had leased for their factory and it makes sense that they would have occupied the basement as below grade space would be less expensive and had the advantage of a concrete (fireproof) floor safer for brazing than the wood floors above. There are other photos from the period showing Ignaz in his office and other workspaces in the building that were clearly taken on upper floors where the windows are much larger and the ceilings higher so it seems they also rented some space on those floors.

By 1900 the firm had attained sufficient success to require larger facilities. They purchased the factory of the failed March-Davis Bicycle Company at a receiver's sale that year and moved to that location by 1901where they remained while expanding the plant over the years. It was closed in 1982 following a crippling 13-week strike in 1980 that was the company's first in it's 85 year history. 1,400 workers lost their jobs and it marked the end of Schwinn's years as a Chicago manufacturer. Although the company continued for a time, it's bikes were subsequently made elsewhere.


1610649010838.png


1895 2021

Lake Street in 1895.jpg
 
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