Identifying Hiawatha


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suxvr40rider

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jul 4, 2016
26
4
46
Sioux City
#1
I will upload photos as soon as I can.

I have what I think is a post WWII but pre 1950 Hiawatha. It has a springer front end, tank with horn button and presumably a horn inside, a battery box, and a rear rack. The serial number on the bottom bracket appear to start with "G56" and end with "A". I cannot tell the letters or numbers in between. The headbadge does NOT say Gambles on it nor is there a serial number on it.

My research has lead me to think it is post WWII and pre 1950. The serial number references I have found show serial numbers ending in "F" mean the Hiawatha's were manufactured in 1949. Photos I have found show Hiawatha's without the springer front end after 1950.

The research I have done has lead me to discussion topics on this forum site and information on other web sites that have helped me to determine the approximate age of this bike. I have also discovered Hiawatha's were built by Cleveland Welding Company and Shelby Manufacturing Company, with a few models made by Murray of Ohio and Huffman Mfg. The were sold largely by Gambles but also by retailers such as Sears.

I am the second owner. I inherited this bike from my mother in law, after my father in law passed away about 8 years ago. He was born in 1939.

I know Gambles used to be one of the stores that sold Hiawatha's but would Gambles have sold a Hiawatha without the Gambles serial number or without a head badge that says Gambles?

What year does the letter "A" at the end of the serial number designate?

When did Hiawatha stop having the springer front end added?

Where else would I find a serial number on this bike?

The bike is in need of a full restoration. I may not fully restore it an may only get it running mechanically again and donate it to the historical museum/society in the community the original owner grew up in. but first I need to track down as much info about this bike as I can.

Any info. would help. Thanks.
 

CrazyDave

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Feb 4, 2016
2,235
2,348
42
#11
Who or what is/was CWC?
Cleveland Welding Company. The made bike starting around '36 and were bought out by AMF in the early 50's. (51?). They made bikes badged Roadmaster, some Western Flyers, some Hawthornes, and 20 +/- other lesser known badges. My favorite bikes!
 
Likes: benmcjamin

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
15,819
16,095
Evans, GA
#12
Cleveland Welding Company. The made bike starting around '36 and were bought out by AMF in the early 50's. (51?). They made bikes badged Roadmaster, some Western Flyers, some Hawthornes, and 20 +/- other lesser known badges. My favorite bikes!
I believe somewhere about mid-53 they were bought by AMF. If that is a pic of the bike it is missing the headlight and has the wrong chain guard on it. V/r Shawn

DSC_0193 - Copy.JPG

DSC_0191 - Copy.JPG
 
Last edited:

benmcjamin

Finally riding a big boys bike
Dec 15, 2015
323
314
huntington w.v
#14
I will upload photos as soon as I can.

I have what I think is a post WWII but pre 1950 Hiawatha. It has a springer front end, tank with horn button and presumably a horn inside, a battery box, and a rear rack. The serial number on the bottom bracket appear to start with "G56" and end with "A". I cannot tell the letters or numbers in between. The headbadge does NOT say Gambles on it nor is there a serial number on it.

My research has lead me to think it is post WWII and pre 1950. The serial number references I have found show serial numbers ending in "F"

The bike is in need of a full restoration. I may not fully restore it an may only get it running mechanically again and donate it to the historical museum/society in the community the original owner grew up in. but first I need to track down as much info about this bike as I can.

Any info. would help. Thanks.

would u be interested in selling this bike??

thanks Ben
 

suxvr40rider

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jul 4, 2016
26
4
46
Sioux City
#17
would u be interested in selling this bike??

thanks Ben
No. Not going to sell it. It belonged to my father in law who passed away in 2009. It was given to him as a Christmas gift when he was a boy. If I do anything with it is either going to be fully restored and entered into bike shows. Or will be made mechanically restored by my local bike shop and donated to the historical society/museum in the community he was from if they will accept it. But I am not going to sell it.
 
Likes: CrazyDave

suxvr40rider

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jul 4, 2016
26
4
46
Sioux City
#18
I believe somewhere about mid-53 they were bought by AMF. If that is a pic of the bike it is missing the headlight and has the wrong chain guard on it. V/r Shawn

View attachment 336578
View attachment 336579
Which is why I need to find out when it was manufactured. I need to know if it was made by CWC or AMF.

I knew it has the wrong chain guard before I started this discussion thread. I did buy a correct one from EBAY a few years ago. I also know the speedometer is not original to the bike. I think my father in law added it sometime in the 1960's or 1970's. My wife remembers it always being there and she was born in 1971.
 

CrazyDave

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Feb 4, 2016
2,235
2,348
42
#19
If you post the complete serial number, or better yet a picture of it, you will probably get a more accurate response.....I dont think that bike was born with a skiptooth chain, but I dont know much.
 

suxvr40rider

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jul 4, 2016
26
4
46
Sioux City
#20
A couple of more questions I have are:

Would the battery box have been original or after market intended for any type of bike from the era?

The chain guard I purchased from EBAY is mostly chromed with fewer parts of it painted. As you can see in the photos of the bike there is no chrome on the fenders. But the handle bars and other parts may have been chromed at one time. Would a chain guard with more chrome than paint have been used on a bike with few chromed pieces?
 

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