Sturmey Archer Tricoaster

Discussion in 'Antique Bicycles Pre-1933' started by fordsnake, Dec 16, 2017.

  1. #1 Posted Dec 16, 2017

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    Ok, I've taxed my brain cells on this topic and I now need your assistance?

    I recently purchased a Sturmey Archer Tricoaster for a project next year. The hub has a large "S” stamped above the name Sturmey Archer. In my research, I've found some interesting tidbits about the hub. First, it was introduced in the USA market late 1914, after having a 10 year established acceptance in England! It first appeared in1915 on several high grade bicycles; namely Pope brands, plus the Excelsior & Dayton. So far there's no mention of Sears involvement or the Sears Chief – even though evidence (advertisments) prove the Chiefs were SA equipped.

    I did find this excerpt from John S. Allen Bicycle Blog: Mr. Allen references, “The Sturmey-Archer Story’ by Tony Hadland, (1987) On May 7,1914 Sturmey-Archer did a deal with Sears Roebuck & Co. Sears were to pay £500 for use of Sturmey-Archer’s patents, plus a royalty on each hub. So, I’m guessing the ‘S’ stands for Sears.”– John S. Allen


    The last line in Mr. Allens statement intrigued me…he didn’t acknowledge that Mr. Hadland confirmed the origin of the “S”? Instead he gave us a subjective opinion and not a fact, that it stood for Sears.http://john-s-allen.com/blog/?p=594

    It’s very easy to surmised or speculate the plausibility of what may have occurred or happened…after all who can challenge a conjecture without evidence? I‘ve spent several days now searching online for evidence about this Sturmey Archer & Sears agreement, or Sears manufacturing SA's (so far, I’ve found nothing). Don’t get me wrong…I’m not disputing Sears involvement, I’m sure it existed.

    In fact, the Sturmey Archer website concurs, there was an agreement…but it also suggest the Type “S” refers to USA manufacturing! http://www.sturmey-archerheritage.com/images/photos/pic-493.4.jpg

    So, here’s my question; were all SA Tricoaster hubs made in the U.S.A? Were all U.S.A hubs stamped with an “S?” Did the “S” only appeared on Sears bicycles?

    So far, I have not found evidence of an early Sturmey Archer Tricoaster without the stamped “S.” However, much of the printed material in 1915-17 i.e., catalogs, newspapers and magazines show the hub but without the “S”…go figure?
    SA Hub.jpg
     
    #1 fordsnake, Dec 16, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
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  2. #2 Posted Dec 16, 2017

    I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!

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    Mine had an "S", I'll try to find pics of it....
     
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  3. #3 Posted Dec 16, 2017

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    Here’s a head scratcher...Sturmey Archer states “the “S” hubs were identical to the English Type “F” hub.”
    Sturmey Archer Note.jpg
    In 1914 the British government took control of Sturmey Archer to supply its troops. So who produced the Type "F" hub, the War Office or Sturmey Archer?
    Sturmey Archer War office.jpg

    And here's the kicker...if you look on the Sturmey Archer historical website, http://www.sturmey-archerheritage.com/index.php?page=history there’s no "F" ever existing! There's a FX ,FN, FM, TF, BFT, but no “F”. Also note who handled the SA hub in the US market (no Sears)
    Sturmey Archer Review .jpg
     
    #3 fordsnake, Dec 16, 2017
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  4. #4 Posted Dec 17, 2017

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    • Oct. 1914, Cycle Mfg. & Supply Co., announced and began advertising the SA Tricoaster in the US market. Note that King Sewing Machine Co is featured as the manufacturer and home of the US Sturmey Archer.
    SA AD .jpg


    • In 1915 - SA Tricoaster is showcased on several brand bicycles as standard equipment and optional for any chain driven bicycle. Sturmey Archer .jpg

    There's no "S" marking in these ads or any mentioning of Sears, Roebuck. Obviously there's more to be discovered...stay tuned.
    SA Ad 4A.jpg
     
    #4 fordsnake, Dec 17, 2017
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  5. #5 Posted Dec 17, 2017

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    Imagine the 1915 Pope Special (bottom right) 80T front sprocket and a SA Tricoaster...one sweet ride! Pope Sturmey Archer .jpg
     
  6. #6 Posted Dec 17, 2017

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    No stamped "S" on the 1914 Sears, Roebuck catalog or ads.
    Sears Catalog .jpg
    Sturmey Hub.jpg
     
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  7. #7 Posted Dec 17, 2017

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    Still no stamped "S" and the King Sewing Machine Co., is the manufacturer of the SA Tricoaster in the USA market .

    King Sewing .jpg

    Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 9.01.45 PM.png
     
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  8. #8 Posted Dec 17, 2017

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    As I've shared, there are several advertisements referencing the production of the Sturmey Archer Tricoaster, referencing that the home of the SA Tricoaster manufacturing was at the King Sewing Machine Co plant! Plus, all the sales and distribution were handled by the Cycle Mfg.,& Supply Co., of Chicago!

    King Sewing B.jpg
    King Sewing aa.jpg
    Then I found an interesting nugget – King Sewing Machines were sold by Sears & Roebuck Co.

    As I peeled back the layers, I found the ah-ha –

    The King Sewing Machine Company was most successful in attracting the attention of Sears, Roebuck, & Co. in 1909, which provided the $150,000 capital for King to construct an 8-acre manufacturing complex on Rano Street in Black Rock on land leased from Walter H. Schoellkopf. It was well-located adjacent to the Lackawanna Belt Line. Several city streets were terminated to allow for the $150,000 complex. It was an all-electric factory, which pleased the residential neighborhood. King was now a subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck which contracted for the entire output of the King Sewing Machine Company, to be sold under the Sears brand. Buffalo papers reported that Sears had wanted the factory located in Cleveland, but Buffalo interests persuaded the company to maintain a Buffalo presence. The factory would provide 500-600 full-time jobs. In 1912, the factory expanded, using 500 tons of steel to construct 4 additional buildings.

    This still doesn't answer...why Sears went under the radar? Unlike many manufacturers and producers of the time, this would have been considered big news! More to come...
     
    #8 fordsnake, Dec 17, 2017
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  9. #9 Posted Dec 17, 2017

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    Outstanding detective work!
    So was there a British distributor the began with the letter F?
    If that's the case, then I think, that would clinch the S standing for Sears.
     
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  10. #10 Posted Dec 17, 2017
    sam
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    I have found that on occasion not all Sturmey Archer hubs are known. I have an early K hub that is stamped with the letter A. I have seen an advertisement saying the new K hubs was an exclusive to Alldays cycles. Does that also mean I have one built for Alldays?
     
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  11. #11 Posted Dec 18, 2017

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    The Type "S" was offered on many different bicycles between 1915 and 1917... is anyone familiar with this hub without the stamped "S"?

    The "S" Hub .jpg


    The English Tricoaster was identical to the US version except it has NOTTINGHAM stamped under TRICOASTER. (patented)
    SA HUB Nottingham.jpg
     
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  12. #12 Posted Dec 18, 2017

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    Maybe the S stood for States.
     
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  13. #13 Posted Dec 18, 2017

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    That’s what I was thinking!

    That hub was installed on many brand bikes...but it doesn't appear to have ever been made without the stamped "S". If so, I'd love to see an example of it without the "S"?

    Sure, Sears owned the controlling interest of the King Sewing Machine Co., which manufactured the US Sturmey Archer Tricoaster version. Logically, the "S" could refer to Sears made or equipped bicycles! But since I can't find anything acknowledging the Sears involvement’, either with the manufacturing or distributing of the hub...I too reside that the "S" could just as easily be the signature letter for “Made in the STATES” That conjecture is just as plausible...until we have more evidence? Obviously, there's more research needed.
     
    #13 fordsnake, Dec 18, 2017
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  14. #14 Posted Dec 19, 2017

    Finally riding a big boys bike

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    Hi,All.

    It's an interesting problem, and I'd like to see one of the F marked ones, which might help. One sold on Ebay, but too long ago for the pictures to still be there.

    Here's some of my thoughts. To me, S for States seems unlikely. Why do that when it's just as easy to stamp 'Made in USA' or even 'USA'. The English do call the USA "The States', but that is never abbreviated as such.

    For the same reason, I have my doubts that they would abbreviate "Sears Roebuck" as S, since it should be SR. Sturmey-Archer even abbreviate their own name as SA, and their's is hyphenated.

    A clue could be that the typeface for the S is very different to the typeface used for the rest of the hub. Compare the S with the S in Sturmey-Archer. The S has serifs and Sturmey-Archer does not. This makes me think it is a specific reference to a company who uses a seriphed S at the start of their name. Looking at early Sears catalogues, they seem to have changed the script for their name often,.so, again, I don't think it's them. That said, here is an example of their letterhead with a similar S.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/Sears,_Robuck_&_Co._letterhead_1907.jpg

    But then again, it's not too unusual, see this picture of a Singer sewing machine:

    http://www.sewmuse.co.uk/singer 66 99.htm

    Best Regards,

    Adrian

    PS, more on the history of King sewing machines (I tried to trace a link with Singer, but failed) here.

    http://needlebar.org/main/makers/usa/histories/king/index.html
     
    #14 Mercian, Dec 19, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
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  15. #15 Posted Dec 19, 2017

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    It almost looks like a brand, as for "Secessionists". I don't think that, at that point, they were still quite over us leaving.
     
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  16. #16 Posted Dec 19, 2017

    Finally riding a big boys bike

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    Mike,

    even now we weep quietly in the night when no one can see us.... (-:

    Best Regards,

    Adrian

    (from near Nottingham, UK)
     
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  17. #17 Posted Dec 19, 2017

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    Adrian, thank you for reaching across the pond with your insight and the King input. We may never know the significance of the "S"? It would be nice to see a USA made Tricoaster hub without the branded "S" But I don't think one was ever produced? If one were to appear it would certainly resolve many questions.
     
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  18. #18 Posted Dec 19, 2017
    sam
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    36 hole tricoaster hub IMG_1178.JPG
     
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  19. #19 Posted Dec 19, 2017

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    Thanks Sam, can you offered the serial number? This single pic verifies that the USA hub was produced without the "S"...therefore there should be a plethora of this particular hub out there, since it was installed as standard equipment on so many high grade bicycles. Keep the pics coming.
     
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  20. #20 Posted Dec 19, 2017
    sam
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    This hub has the number 36 stamped on the outside of the flange which refers to it being drilled 36 hole. Other than that the photo shows all I know. Was this hub made in USA or England ? was it made to export? was it an import hub? pre-WW1 or Post WW1 ? can't say ? More info is needed.
     
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