I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Thanks for all the great info Carlton!
Has anyone ever seen a photograph of Major Taylor with an extension stem other than the popular circular tube stem?
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Taylor's autobiography (which reads like a personal journal) it’s a good account of the milestones in his life. Unless I missed something when reading it, there's no reference or mentioning of producing or endorsing a "stem". However, he openly admits to adopting and pioneering an existing one.
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The circular tube extension stem seen in many of the photographs of Major Taylor was designed and made by Bradshaw Jack, an English bike maker in 1900. It’s possible Taylor was introduced to the stem while racing in Europe?
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The no-slip Accles & Pollock (squared tube) stem, often called the Major Taylor stem is also British made. The company founded in 1896, originally produced steel tubing for bicycle frames. It’s possible the Englishman Bradshaw Jack sold his design and patent to A&P for production and later incorporated the no-slip diamond tubing as a "new" feature and ostensibly credited Major Taylor? (this is pure speculation on my part).
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This is the stamped Ankh on the bottom of my stem, I was told it's an A&P stamping, but I've never found the registered symbol.
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The chances of Taylor being involved with creating, restyling, or modifying the stem is highly unlikely…why? Because of his manager Louis “Birdie” Munger, the man who plucked him out of a tempestuous world of racism and made him a champion!
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Munger (an ex-cycling champion) helicoptered over Taylor's career; he was so intertwined that Taylor wouldn't make a move without Munger's advice or counsel. This is germane, because if Taylor had pursued a novel bicycle "stem" rest assured Munger would have contracts drawn for Taylor to be handsomely compensated for his involvement! (Taylor did his share of product endorsements).The two were a formidable team and they benefited lucratively over the years. Plus, Munger would have promoted the hell out of Taylor’s endorsement in the newspapers and trade pubs!
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Louis “Birdie” Munger wasn’t just a trainer, coach and manager, he was a self-made businessman. When he wasn’t training Taylor, he was occupied with the operations and the production of some reputable wheels manufactured by his companies.
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Additionally, Birdie was an inventor with several US patents under his belt! He knew how to navigate the US patent operations; securing, protecting and selling ideas...after all Munger’s father worked for the US patent office and exposed Birdie to the world of inventions!
If you thought applying for a US patent was a cake walk…this read will give you a new perspective (Cycle Age 1900)
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Subsequently, Birdies patents paid off and made him a wealthy man!!!View attachment 899227
Here’s the rub, Munger was also Taylor’s financial advisor – looking after the champion’s “interest”. Munger died a rich man. Its hard to imagine that Birdie wouldn't installed some safe guards for Taylor's money? A modest royalty check may have kept Taylor afloat during some rough patches...instead, three years after Birdie's death, Major Taylor died destitute and penniless!
Until there’s documented evidence that shows Taylor's involvement with an extension stem…the only conclusion that can be drawn is that while he was alive, he did not endorse or produce a stem. Everything that has been made was done so without his involvement! However the gesture of publicly connecting his name to the extension stem – and crediting him for something he pioneered and introduced to racing...is a well deserved posthumous honor!
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About 14 years ago in hindsight I could of bought this 1904 CCM Massey Harris Model 17 Track racer in NView attachment 900005
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ew Zealand when I was there. I think the bike is in Australia now.
O well. Has Hussey Bar stem. In my catalog it says 28in Westwood steel or Laminated wood racing rims
Accles & Pollock were still selling them as "Major Taylor" stems in 1952, image from their catalogue (can be seen in full on the V-CC library site).....
Was the ad marketing a Major Taylor stem or just an extension stem? It shouldn't be that hard to find the connection to Worksman Cycle...they've been around since 1898 and are headquartered in Ozone Park in Queens in NYC. If you'd like I can send an inquiry about a 1907 Taylor connection?cant find ad from bicycle magazine 1907 era selling round Major Taylor stems from worksman cycle Ny Ny!