Identifying Hiawatha


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Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
15,818
16,093
Evans, GA
#41
I wouldn't call it a "mis-stamp" but rather a weakly struck stamp after the "A". You really start to see the 'jet age' influence in the mid to late 50s and early 60s on bicycles. The bicycle year thing generally starts a little later in the year than the car thing. The best you are going to do on year of the bike is the serial number unless you have paper work such as a sales invoice. I understand your quest for accuracy but I think you may drive yourself crazy if you try to over think this one. V/r Shawn
 
Likes: Boris

suxvr40rider

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jul 4, 2016
26
4
46
Sioux City
#42
I wouldn't call it a "mis-stamp" but rather a weakly struck stamp after the "A". You really start to see the 'jet age' influence in the mid to late 50s and early 60s on bicycles. The bicycle year thing generally starts a little later in the year than the car thing. The best you are going to do on year of the bike is the serial number unless you have paper work such as a sales invoice. I understand your quest for accuracy but I think you may drive yourself crazy if you try to over think this one. V/r Shawn
OK, so this is a April 1951 model as stated by another forum member? So why would the other forum member claim this is a mis-stamp? I know a bit about using tools and die, especially punch and die in manufacturing. This serial number looks like it was hand stamped. Meaning someone had to hold the punch with the letter or number in place by hand and strike it hard with a hammer and it was done one character at a time. Today serial numbers are either embossed or punched onto a plate and the plate is attached to the bike or it is machine punched or even laser cut into the steel to a specific depth.

Someone stated the chain ring and chain guard are not original to the bike.

I have a Hiawatha chain guard but there was more chrome than paint on it. When these bikes were built and if the chain guard had more chrome than paint weren't the fenders also the same? And if the chain guard had more paint than chrome so did the fenders? I ask because in every photo I have seen of 1950's model bikes this seems to be the case. Of course the photos I have seen are of fully restored bikes that look like are meant for museums who only accept bikes that look like they came off of the show room floor or are entered into a judging competition. I am more interested in what would have been original to the bike.

Would the original front chain ring have been a skip tooth? If not where can I find an original replacement meant for Hiawatha bikes? I would love to find an OEM/new/old stock part for it.

As I stated earlier in this discussion I am going to have this bike mechanically restored and made operational by my local bike shop this fall. I am also going to have them put on the Hiawatha chain guard I purchased a while back from EBAY, even with the odd chrome to paint ratio. If I ever have this bike fully restored to show room quality finish I need to know about the details regarding the chain ring and chrome to paint ratio between the fenders and the chain guard.
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
15,818
16,093
Evans, GA
#43
As I stated in the quote you posted this is not really a mis-stamp and I don't believe the person that posted that meant it that way. All of these I've seen had chrome fenders but that's not to say 100% that's how all of them came. Personally I'd put the other guard on it, service it, and ride it as-is. To restore this bike would cost more than it would be worth finished. Of course if it is for pure sentimental reasons then cost (about $2k) would not be a factor. V/r Shawn
 

suxvr40rider

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jul 4, 2016
26
4
46
Sioux City
#44
As I stated in the quote you posted this is not really a mis-stamp and I don't believe the person that posted that meant it that way. All of these I've seen had chrome fenders but that's not to say 100% that's how all of them came. Personally I'd put the other guard on it, service it, and ride it as-is. To restore this bike would cost more than it would be worth finished. Of course if it is for pure sentimental reasons then cost (about $2k) would not be a factor. V/r Shawn
This one has painted fenders. But what about the front chain ring? Others have stated these bikes did not come with a skip tooth. The front chain ring is an after market replacement, along with the chain guard. Where would I find a correct chain ring for a Hiawatha of this era? OEM or new/old stock would be preferred if possible. If I am unable to find one meant for a Hiawatha and I have to use the skip tooth on this bike, can bicycle chain meant for skip tooth chain rings still be found?
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
15,818
16,093
Evans, GA
#45
I believe your bike did come skip tooth originally. CWC used a skip tooth (1'" pitch) drivetrain up until the mid 50s. Chains are sold here all the time. Post a wanted ad for the ring and chain in the "Wanted" section of the forum. The ring looks like the pics below. You will also need the correct headlight which is neither easy to find or cheap. If you can find one plan on spending $200-300. V/r Shawn

DSC_0452 - Copy.JPG
DSC_0682 - Copy.JPG
 
Likes: CrazyDave

suxvr40rider

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jul 4, 2016
26
4
46
Sioux City
#46
I believe your bike did come skip tooth originally. CWC used a skip tooth (1'" pitch) drivetrain up until the mid 50s. Chains are sold here all the time. Post a wanted ad for the ring and chain in the "Wanted" section of the forum. The ring looks like the pics below. You will also need the correct headlight which is neither easy to find or cheap. If you can find one plan on spending $200-300. V/r Shawn

View attachment 344334 View attachment 344335
Would this Hiawatha have come with a head light originally or at that time, early 1950's, was it an add on, after market accessory as they are when bikes are sold today?

The chain guard I have is the same style and shape as the one in the photo, but as I said it has a lt more chrome on it. I will post a photo as soon as I can.
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
15,818
16,093
Evans, GA
#47
You need the headlight as shown on the bikes in posts #12-3. This light came from the factory on this bike. V/r Shawn
 

suxvr40rider

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jul 4, 2016
26
4
46
Sioux City
#49
Hello all,

Sorry I have not been participating in any discussions lately. But I have been trying to research as much as possible about this Hiawatha I have.

Here is an update:
1. After being transported from Des moines, Iowa to a self storage facility in Sgt. Bluff, Iowa nad sitting there for over a taer the Hiawataha is now at the local bike shop being mechanically overhauled/rebuilt.

2. It has been recently discovered the pedals are Schwinn and it is believed the crank and crank arms are also Schwinn. It was someone in this group who advised me the chainguard is a Schwinn and it had an "incorrect" chainring on it that was thought to be a Wald replacement.

3. The bike has been 75" disasembled. The fenders, handlebars, rack, saddle and front end are still assembled. The battery box, grips, wheels, chainring, tires, tubes, chain, and tank have been removed.

4. I have the half of the tank with the horn. It still had old batteries in it. One was very corroded and had fallen out of the holder and was "fused" to the inside of the bottom of right side of the tank. The other was still in the holder with little to no signs of corrosion.

5. The horn is a Delta. At least that is what it says on the horn.

6. I put fresh batteries in the horn and it does work. But it sounds more like a buzzer than a horn.

7. I can turn the round "disc" that says Delta 360 degrees in either direction. It also looks like it has small tabs holding it on that can be "unbent" to remove it. As I turn the disc and push the button the tone changes from an obvious buzz to more of a horn sound.

8. The grips have to be replaced.

9. There is a hole at the end of the handlebar, on the top surface, on the right side, the grip covered it up. There is no hole on the left side.

10. I purchased a Hiawatha chain guard from Ebay.

11. The head light is missing.

12. Original grips are in terrible shape. Need to ne replaced.

13. Tires, tubes and rim tape needs to be replaced.

14. For right now the bike will not be fully restored. It does have scratches, and a few minor dents on the tank. It also has petina and surface rust that can be cleaned off with CLR and steel wool.

This is what is going to happen with the Hiawatha:
1. It is going to be mechanincally overhauled with same chain, chainring, cranks, pedals, rims, wheeL bearings, bottom bracket bearings, handlebars, head set bearings, saddle, tank, and horn.

2. Chain guard purchased from Ebay will be installed.

3. Spokes will be reused if they are good enough, otherwise they will be replaced as will the rim tape.

4. Tires and tubes will be replaced.

5. Grips will be replaced with black Schwinn replica's.

Here are more questions to this point:
1. What style of tires would be good for this bike? It is going to be ridden. Would white walls look better or black walls? Is there a specific brand collectors and restorers like to use.

2. Is it normal for the horn to sound more like a buzzer than a horn? As I stated as the disc is turned it changes tone. Should the disc be taken off to adjust something on the inside of the horn? Should it sound more like a horn when I get the other half of the tank on?

3. If I did ever want to replace the chainring, cranks and pedals is there a new/old stock supplier I can reach out to? or some other resource OTHER THAN Ebay? Ebay is not a very good source for parts like this.

4. Is there a web site dedicated to Hiawatha's or a book, guide, etc. Any other legitmiate resource?

I have taken photos of the bike with it torn down at the bike shop. My wife and I have also found old photos with the my father in law and the bike in it. I am hoping to create a slide show of the photos I have taken and of the photos we have found.

I am sure I wil lhave more to ask later. For nw thank yuou for any information and advice you can offer.
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
15,818
16,093
Evans, GA
#50
Hello all,

Sorry I have not been participating in any discussions lately. But I have been trying to research as much as possible about this Hiawatha I have.

Here is an update:
1. After being transported from Des moines, Iowa to a self storage facility in Sgt. Bluff, Iowa nad sitting there for over a taer the Hiawataha is now at the local bike shop being mechanically overhauled/rebuilt.

2. It has been recently discovered the pedals are Schwinn and it is believed the crank and crank arms are also Schwinn. It was someone in this group who advised me the chainguard is a Schwinn and it had an "incorrect" chainring on it that was thought to be a Wald replacement.

3. The bike has been 75" disasembled. The fenders, handlebars, rack, saddle and front end are still assembled. The battery box, grips, wheels, chainring, tires, tubes, chain, and tank have been removed.

4. I have the half of the tank with the horn. It still had old batteries in it. One was very corroded and had fallen out of the holder and was "fused" to the inside of the bottom of right side of the tank. The other was still in the holder with little to no signs of corrosion.

5. The horn is a Delta. At least that is what it says on the horn.

6. I put fresh batteries in the horn and it does work. But it sounds more like a buzzer than a horn.

7. I can turn the round "disc" that says Delta 360 degrees in either direction. It also looks like it has small tabs holding it on that can be "unbent" to remove it. As I turn the disc and push the button the tone changes from an obvious buzz to more of a horn sound.

8. The grips have to be replaced.

9. There is a hole at the end of the handlebar, on the top surface, on the right side, the grip covered it up. There is no hole on the left side.

10. I purchased a Hiawatha chain guard from Ebay.

11. The head light is missing.

12. Original grips are in terrible shape. Need to ne replaced.

13. Tires, tubes and rim tape needs to be replaced.

14. For right now the bike will not be fully restored. It does have scratches, and a few minor dents on the tank. It also has petina and surface rust that can be cleaned off with CLR and steel wool.

This is what is going to happen with the Hiawatha:
1. It is going to be mechanincally overhauled with same chain, chainring, cranks, pedals, rims, wheeL bearings, bottom bracket bearings, handlebars, head set bearings, saddle, tank, and horn.

2. Chain guard purchased from Ebay will be installed.

3. Spokes will be reused if they are good enough, otherwise they will be replaced as will the rim tape.

4. Tires and tubes will be replaced.

5. Grips will be replaced with black Schwinn replica's.

Here are more questions to this point:
1. What style of tires would be good for this bike? It is going to be ridden. Would white walls look better or black walls? Is there a specific brand collectors and restorers like to use. I usually prefer white walls on a deluxe bike and this one likely came with white walls. Given you are going to leave it crusty for the time being a set of John's repo black walls would be an excellent solution.

2. Is it normal for the horn to sound more like a buzzer than a horn? As I stated as the disc is turned it changes tone. Should the disc be taken off to adjust something on the inside of the horn? Should it sound more like a horn when I get the other half of the tank on? Don't expect a car horn sound out of these--no matter how it is adjusted it will still sound more like a loud buzzer than horn

3. If I did ever want to replace the chainring, cranks and pedals is there a new/old stock supplier I can reach out to? or some other resource OTHER THAN Ebay? Ebay is not a very good source for parts like this. There are no NOS suppliers. Other collectors may have NOS parts and if you don't want to source from Ebay then either attend shows, run a wanted ad here, or both.

4. Is there a web site dedicated to Hiawatha's or a book, guide, etc. Any other legitmiate resource? No,
As previously discussed Hiawatha is a brand that was sold through a department store and over the years there were a few different manufacturers (suppliers). Other than period ads there is no book currently on post war CWC products or Hiawatha brand bikes specifically.


I have taken photos of the bike with it torn down at the bike shop. My wife and I have also found old photos with the my father in law and the bike in it. I am hoping to create a slide show of the photos I have taken and of the photos we have found.

I am sure I wil lhave more to ask later. For nw thank yuou for any information and advice you can offer.
 

suxvr40rider

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jul 4, 2016
26
4
46
Sioux City
#51
If I am not mistaken Gamble's was the ONLY store that sold Hiawatha's. But CWC, Shelby, Murray Ohio, Huffman Manufacturing, and AMF were among the known manufacturers of these bikes.
 
Likes: pedal_junky

suxvr40rider

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jul 4, 2016
26
4
46
Sioux City
#53
Update on the Hiawatha:
1. I found out the bike has not been ridden since the early 1970's. In about 1974 it was taken to Illinois, where the original owner, my father in law was from, and put in storage at his in laws place, my mother in laws parents, because they moved from Michigan to Des Moines. My in laws did not have room to store in their new home in Des Moines at the time. My mother in laws parents moved to a new house in 1984 at which time the bike was finally taken to Des Moines where it sat in storage until it was moved to Sioux City, Iowa in 2015.

2. The headset, bottom bracket and hubs have all been taken apart, cleaned and repacked with the original bearings and reassembled. There is no damage, pits or scoring in the races or cups. I believe my father in law had repacked these and took good care of them before. Which explains why the originals can still be used.

3. I have the frame, rims, and tank back at my house so I can clean it up before I have the bike shop reassemble the bike. The wheels are off the bike and so is the tank.

4. The bike is not going to have any restoration done on the frame, body, etc. It is going to be cleaned up so the bike can be reassembled. It does have surface rust and the chrome parts are pretty pitted with corrosion. There is also still a lot of caked on dirt and even cob webs stuck to the underside of the fenders. The rear sprocket area even has caked on grease on the outside of the rear dropouts.

How to clean the grease, dirt, and cobwebs is pretty self explanatory. Clean rags, mild degreaser and soap and water will do so very efficiently.

But how do I clean the corrosion and rust off? What would you recommend? WIll the right grade of steel wool combined with CLR work well on the painted surfaces? On the parts that were chrome or not painted should I take a powered wire wheel to it, such as the one that attaches to my power drill or bench motor?

Please advise. Thank you.
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
15,818
16,093
Evans, GA
#54
On chrome or un-plated metal I would use a fine brass wire wheel-nothing too aggressive. On paint you could try an OA bath followed by a thorough rinse and a coat of Johnsons Paste wax to seal the surface and bring out a little more luster. See my project thread on the '25 Columbia for my results. V/r Shawn
 

suxvr40rider

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jul 4, 2016
26
4
46
Sioux City
#55
An OA bath sounds great but i do not have a tub or container large enough to place the frame in. Plus submerging it into liquid will defeat the purpose of rebuilding/repacking the headset, bottom bracket and hubs.

I am limited to using a spray bottle or dipping a rag or steel wool into a small container of cleaning solution to apply what ever the liquid cleaning agent is, and my garden hose sprayer to rinse with clean water. I have extensvie expeience in cleaning bicycles. I clean and relube my Vision R40 recumbent about every other month during the spring and summer. As long as I do not directly spray water at the bottom bracket, head set or hubs there is no risk of the grease being rinsed out. The same will apply with the Hiawatha.

Keep in mind the springer front end, fork, front fender, and handle bars are all still attached to the frame.

Other than an OA bath or any other method involving submerging the bike into a very large container of water, how would someone recommend I clean as much rust and corrosion off of the painted surfaces as possible with out further damaging the paint?
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
15,818
16,093
Evans, GA
#56
Ok so WD40 and 0000 steel wool. Just be careful around any pin stripes or graphics. Maybe a coarser grade of steel wool for the more heavily corroded parts or the wire brush depending on how bad they are. BTW when I do an OA bath I completely strip the frame and all components--the service e.g. lube comes afterwards. I bought a little kiddy pool at Wal-Mart for about $8. I can get all the components of a ballooner in no problem. V/r Shawn
 

suxvr40rider

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jul 4, 2016
26
4
46
Sioux City
#57
Ok so WD40 and 0000 steel wool. Just be careful around any pin stripes or graphics. Maybe a coarser grade of steel wool for the more heavily corroded parts or the wire brush depending on how bad they are. BTW when I do an OA bath I completely strip the frame and all components--the service e.g. lube comes afterwards. I bought a little kiddy pool at Wal-Mart for about $8. I can get all the components of a ballooner in no problem. V/r Shawn
There are no pin stripes or graphics. At least not any more. There may have been at one time. I did look at how CLR brand Calcium Lime Rust remover works and it seems to be the best for a chemical rust cleaning agent. I also looked at the Zep brand of the same and it wil lnot work so well because it is not meant for painted surfaces. The Krud Cutter brand and it will work to both remove and inhibit rust but not sure how it will work on painted surface, if it will damage the paint. I will have to find out.

I do like the WD40 idea. Next to duct tape, and JB Weld it is one of my favorite products to use and has an incredible multitude of uses. But will the regular from the spray can work to remove rust or do i need the specific Rust Remover Soak? I kind of get the feeling the specific rust remove is only called that because it is in a pourable container and not sprayed from the can. Or does it have an added ingredient the spray can does not?
 

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