Iver Johnson - Solid and Stolid; A gathering place for dating IJ bicycles

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RMS37

I live for the CABE
There have been posts regarding Iver Johnson bicycles, and how to date them, on this site in a disproportionate number to their popularity with the buying public in the 1930’s and 40s. These posts have been scattered and I thought this specific topic is one that could be helped along toward resolution if the interested parties gathered. Once a few of you arrive, we can discuss a plan of action….


Since Iver Johnson was active in both the Classic and Antique periods of bicycle history I decided to post this in general discussions.
 

66TigerCat

I live for the CABE
Iver Johnson info

I did a fair amount of research when I restored my IJ. My serial number is 604247 and I was told it is a '41 by Bill Smith of The Wheelmen. I guess he's been compiling a list for awhile. There's some dating info on their site.
 

RMS37

I live for the CABE
Obviously we should see if we can find a link to that information and/or contact Mr. Smith to find out what his research has uncovered.

I think practically the other thing we can do as a group is to collect pictures of bicycles and record their serial numbers. Iver Johnson bicycle production spans almost 50 years but if we can look for the highest existing serial number and the lowest number on a balloon tired Iver, we can come up with a reasonable range of serial numbers representing 1933/34 through 1941/42. I have started a model for pre-balloons but that will obviously be more speculative in nature.

I have two balloon frames to add which I need to dig out and photograph.
 

scrubbinrims

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Cool.

I recently acquired an iver super mobicycle which I still need to reassemble before posting pics.

Coincidentally on topic, I spoke on the phone yesterday with the winner of the Hartung mobicycle and asked him to post the SN and pics of his outstanding specimen as well.

Chris
 

RMS37

I live for the CABE
A quick trip to the Wheelmen site provided quite a bit of Iver Johnson serial number information. Bill Smith appears to have studied the firm and the bicycles at length and has built a serial number model chart, which he uses to project build dates for the bikes. While he has answered questions about dating individual bike he has not published an overall list as, in his words, he is constantly fine-tuning his model as more information comes in.

My observation has been that as far back as any Iver Johnson recorded serial numbers have been reported, it appears that the bicycles were numbered in a simple progressive arithmetic-sequencing pattern. If this is true then any bike’s build date can be projected by where it falls between two other known and dated bikes. Obviously the closer together those bikes are the more accurate the projection will be.

From the numbers that have been queried and responded to by Mr. Smith, it is relatively easy to build a model and to project where the major serial number breaks occur (i.e. 100,000 200,000 etc.) From the few data point we have it is a best practice to build the model against a curve based on the generally known characteristics of annual U.S. bike production and consumption until we reach the later years where Iver was definitely loosing ground.

In the Wheelman texts I scanned, the highest Iver serial number mentioned was 608722.
As I noted earlier and elsewhere, locating the earliest serialed Balloon Iver will give us a relatively clear reading of how many units were produced after 1933/34 and before 1942.

As Mr. Smith is loath to publish his model, I don’t want to step on any toes by suggesting we build a model here; but if the desire for a chart produces one it will just be a second model from which to draw references. So, in general, I still believe it would behoove us here to record numbers against bikes but it is also true that a quick, accurate and specific answer is probably available from the horse’s mouth.
 

frankabr.

Finally riding a big boys bike
I Don't Trust The Truss

Sorry, but I just don't. The Iver Johnson I have is built like the Brooklyn Bridge. Problem is it also weighs like the Brooklyn Bridge. Takes at least the nine gears mine has to get it going. If the bike accidentally falls on you, you might as well kiss it goodbye.

I think the idea of collecting serial numbers for these bikes is a good idea. But Ivers to me just don't have that panache that Schwinns, or some others like Elgin had. Kind of like collecting serial numbers on old milk bottles. Blaaaah.

Just my opinion, don't let me dissuade you.

F.A.
 
I

IJamEcono

Guest
I think it'd be a good idea to collect them and develop a separate model. They may not have panache, but some of us don't buy bikes just for the panache. It would just be a tool to use for those interested. If not interested, then one won't be using the tool.
 
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