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Pre 1937 Colson serial number project

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So after going through this entire thread I have a few questions.

1. I've read numerous accounts of the Colson Corp. but one thing not clear to me is what year, exactly, did they start producing regular size bicycles? I know Fred Colson took over in 1917 and they produced sidewalk bikes, tricycles, wheel chairs, gurneys, etc... but don't see any mention of full size bicycles until about 1928.

2. Is the serial number on pre 33 bikes always located on the head tube? I only saw one example in this thread.

3. For 1933-35/37 the serial number sequence is the last number of the year, a letter indicating the month, followed by three or four numbers. I saw mention that possibly only two numbers were used after the month but no pics of such a serial number.

4. For 1936 it appears to be either three or four numbers followed by a letter. Is this letter possibly the month? I say this because in all the examples listed I saw no letters higher than "I".

5. What about these two serial numbers that appear to be on '36? models-one a tandem and the other a double bar? ...or are these '37 models?
tand unk.jpg


rainbow unk.JPG


Thanks for any help in understanding these numbers better, Shawn
 
2. No, not always (and maybe never?). For the early lug framed models, I believe that the numbers cast or forged into the head tube or bottom bracket were piece part numbers rather than date codes or serial numbers.

Rather than being of the same date, those bikes may have had some of the same piece part numbers; or some kind of master cast or mold number, (e.g., “B320”)?

For comparison, later 2-speed hi-lo models, with the cast or forged bottom bracket crank hangers, might not have had those pieces stamped with a serial number; which was stamped elsewhere instead.
 
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2. No, not always (and maybe never?). For the early lug framed models, I believe that the numbers cast or forged into the head tube or bottom bracket were piece part numbers rather than date codes or serial numbers.

Rather than being of the same date, those bikes may have had some of the same piece part numbers.

For comparison, later 2-speed hi-lo models, with the cast or forged bottom bracket crank hangers, might not have had those pieces stamped with a serial number; which was stamped elsewhere instead.
Thanks all of the HI-LOs I've seen, including mine, have a '34 serial stamped in the casting. I'd like to see a HI-LO with a different serial. I'd also like to see more numbers from pre-'33 bikes to get an idea what was going on here.

IMG_6516.JPG
 
Depression era Colson's seem to be few up through 1935, then it seems in 1936 as we came out of the economic morass, when looking at the serial numbers, nearly 10K bikes were made (if the numbers were actually sequential). The 34 High~Lows like yours Shawn certainly seem to mimic ALL of the 1933-35 serial number examples. Do not think many more will surface to begin with and if they do, probably consistent serial numbers would be my guess. BTW, the early 33 black/white 26" ballooner you posted the pic of is very interesting. You can tell whether it is a 28" or actually a 26"-er by measuring the fork leg length and chainstay length, which are different lengths for different wheel sizes. Most companies simply added the fender spacer to allow 26" & 28" to use the same spec frame. As you also mention Shawn it would be great to have more pre-33 examples posted here, and I encourage those who have these bikes pull them out and look for any numbers to add to the database.
 
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