I'm guessing that they may have been produced in house in the vast Raleigh factory in Nottingham.
The original forks were dropped from the Humber line-up before 1910i(sh) I believe and subsequently reintroduced when Raleigh took them over, to act as a distinguishing feature as mentioned above by @SirMike1983 .
Looking back at the images I have noticed a couple of things. The 21" received a replacement front dynohub wheel as indicated by the date stamp. I just looked at the original in my basement with a date stamp of 7 53 which matches up pretty good to the og rear hub stamp of 53 6. The og front wheel was toasted like the rear. Lukily I had some period correct pieces to put decent wheels underneath this bike. The other thing is that the shifter currently on the 21" was the og shifter from the 23". Hard to believe it but after a soak in evaporust, a good cleaning and some lube it actually functions quite well.
On to the 23". Sir Mike should have said "spoiler alert" hahaha. The 23" definitely got an OA bath. Every piece from the fenders to the fork to the bars and wheels. The front dynohub was taken apart with all the guts cleaned separately and the wheel went in the soup. The back hoop was stripped off the wheel and in it went, later to be laced with new spokes. The OA bath worked good but a few areas of the frame had additional derusting by applying an evaporust soaked papertowel sealed in plastic wrap (as described on the container).
One of the coolest things about this bike is the blackened chainwheel. It is so cool looking that I really want to run without the pie-plate on the chaincase just to show it off. I actually did for a while but the case squares up better with the pie plate in. With this bike I had a harder time getting the chain not to rub inside the chaincase but it is about 95% good. I noticed when I had the bikes apart that the chainwheel from the 21" was so straight that it didn't really have any wobble side to side as it went around. The black one from the 23" would have about an 1/8" to maybe 3/16" sway. Likely why it was harder to align well.
I also like the nameplate on the downtube. Tom was a local bicycling enthusiast. I never met him before he passed but his friend, the man who sold me the bike, said he would be happy with the rehab and cleanup of the bike. Thanks Tom for hanging onto this beautiful machine.
I installed a shifter that I had set aside from another project that I knew was working well. I cleaned and rebuilt the pedals and they are in pretty good shape. I like how the bike sits straight with the double kickstand so that will stay on in place of the original, which I think went onto the 21". The front dynohub puts out good voltage but again the lights don't work. I tested the rear light independently and that works, super cool, but I couldn't trouble shoot the problem. That project goes on. You will see that I had an old Brooks saddle in place that I think came on the bike. It was nice and soft but kinda beat up. I had a new B66 in my stock so that is what ended up on there. I also started out with the original bars and stem, which cleaned up surprisingly well, but switched to the taller stem and deeper swept bars that I had on the 21" for a bit. This bike fits me just right and is really fun to ride. I even found a nice old bell for it but haven't got any pics of that yet.
It's hard to tell how many of the other colors made it onto bikes that went to the US market. The catalogs have quite a few colors, but when a pre-1955 Raleigh turns up in the US, it's so often black. Once in awhile, a burgundy Rudge or a blue Humber will turn up. A bit more frequently, a dark/superbe green Raleigh will turn up. People tend to call it "British Racing Green" here because it's a British bike and it's dark green, so those get tied up. It's a shame in that some of the catalog colors look like they would be really nice, but most of what seems to have come over to the US from that era was painted black.
I think that's about as good a job as could be done on the tall bike. Many of these were outdoor bikes or kept in places where there might be water or dampness all year (sheds, basements, dirt floor garages). I think most people tried to keep them up, but they were a utilitarian item still for going to school, riding around campus, or delivering newspapers.
Whoa - that came out pretty nice! I have a Raleigh Sports Light Coaster (22L) in similar shape to this one's starting point. It's been the bike I've been telling myself I'll use as my foray into OA. Part of what's holding me back is if it comes out looking like yours, I won't want to leave it out in the weather anymore . Anyway, this is giving me food for thought...
Oh, and nice twin leg stand, too! Is there a maker's mark on it?
Thanks guys. It was a bummer to finish up the tall one last winter and not be able to ride it until spring. I even had to wait a while for a nice rain to wash away all the winter road salt. Too much work on the rust removal to invite it back so easily. I think the double stander was a Trogg? I'll double check that.... no pun intended... haha
The Trygg is a well-made stand. I used to have a double-leg Trygg on my 1974 Raleigh Sports. The downsides of them are that the bodies sometimes crack at the center, where the stress of the two legs is, and the clamps tend to flatten the chainstays where you clamp them. They are one of the better-made stands, and a good choice if you like the two-leg style stand. I eventually converted my Sports over to an ESGE made specifically for Raleigh.