Torrington spoke/nipple follow up

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41compax

Look Ma, No Hands!
In looking for spokes/nipples, I’d like to stay with those made by Torrington. However on ebay, both have come up in various bulk amounts, with no indication of the manufacturer. The few sellers I’ve asked say they have no idea who made their spokes/nipples because they got them without original packaging. My newbie question is were there several spoke/nipple makers in the 1930s/1940s or did Torrington pretty much control that market?

Lastly, if there were several manufacturers, does anyone know if there was an industrial standard where all spokes of a given gauge, no matter who made them, would have the same heads, same threads, and same thread length, i.e., would they all be interchangeable? Thanks.
 

SirMike1983

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Take a known good spoke and look it over carefully and then match.
-check the headstamp on known correct spokes: is there a mark (say, a "U" or an "R" or a brand stamp)?
-What is the shape of the spoke head - domed or flat? Some companies polished them down, some left domed.
-what length is the spoke? Lots of Torringtons in middleweight and ballooner sizes, but not as many in lightweight sizes.
-What color is the finish? Light grey? Darker grey with a rough/thick finish? Anti-rust coatings varied.
-Make sure you match the shape of your known good spokes (double-butted, straight gauge, tapered, etc)
-How long is the elbow on it? Brands varied on the length of the spoke elbow, and newer spokes often have longer elbows than older ones.

My philosophy is to match as many of those elements as possible without worrying too much about the brand. Usually I'm looking for a handful of spokes to round out a wheelset where a couple need replacing. If the spoke essentially matches what I have already, I don't care too much about brand. I'm sure museum-grade collectors are pickier than me though.

The odds of finding verified, known Torrington lightweight spokes possible, but you'll need to be patient. You'll want to buy from a bike collector who knows his stuff, and who probably has spokes he knows are Torrington (maybe still in the correct box). Buying "in the wild" on eBay from guys with bundles of unknown spokes usually will yield something made by Union in the 1960s-70s, at least in the 26 inch lightweight bike wheel sizes.
 

41compax

Look Ma, No Hands!
Take a known good spoke and look it over carefully and then match.
-check the headstamp on known correct spokes: is there a mark (say, a "U" or an "R" or a brand stamp)?
-What is the shape of the spoke head - domed or flat? Some companies polished them down, some left domed.
-what length is the spoke? Lots of Torringtons in middleweight and ballooner sizes, but not as many in lightweight sizes.
-What color is the finish? Light grey? Darker grey with a rough/thick finish? Anti-rust coatings varied.
-Make sure you match the shape of your known good spokes (double-butted, straight gauge, tapered, etc)
-How long is the elbow on it? Brands varied on the length of the spoke elbow, and newer spokes often have longer elbows than older ones.

My philosophy is to match as many of those elements as possible without worrying too much about the brand. Usually I'm looking for a handful of spokes to round out a wheelset where a couple need replacing. If the spoke essentially matches what I have already, I don't care too much about brand. I'm sure museum-grade collectors are pickier than me though.

The odds of finding verified, known Torrington lightweight spokes possible, but you'll need to be patient. You'll want to buy from a bike collector who knows his stuff, and who probably has spokes he knows are Torrington (maybe still in the correct box). Buying "in the wild" on eBay from guys with bundles of unknown spokes usually will yield something made by Union in the 1960s-70s, at least in the 26 inch lightweight bike wheel sizes.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Even though I thought I'd really looked at my originals, I guess I couldn't see what sounds like the obvious as I didn't know/think about headstamps or domes/flats. Originally I had measured the spokes with a regular ruler but bought a Park ruler to verify the 11 3/8" length. Based on your advice, I know what I'm going to be doing this weekend - ha. I have purchased 2 partial boxes of spokes in the original Torrington boxes - one mostly blue box with white label and one mostly red/yellow box. I may be completely wrong but I think the blue box is older as the nipples in it appear to match my 2 sided 13/16" nipples whereas the nipples in the red/yellow are 4 sided and about 1/16 shorter in overall length. The spokes in the blue box are too short - 10 5/8 - but I got the red box because the spokes are 11 3/8" - but straight 080 - and not 080-060 double butted like my originals. While I would aspire to museum-grade, this bike will be ridden, so if I end up with straight spokes on one wheel and double butted on the other, I can live with that. Hopefully I can use the best existing spokes/nipples from both wheels to rebuild one wheel and then rebuild the other with NOS - but with slightly different spokes/nipples. I found several 1/2" overall length nipples on the rear wheel but I assume those are incorrect replacements from an earlier time. Thanks again SirMike1983!
 

41compax

Look Ma, No Hands!
Might want to talk to @island schwinn. I believe he had the spokes you are looking for a while back.

Thanks AGAIN ricobike! It took me a few minutes to figure out how to contact a member directly but once I got rid of the "@" and just used the rest, I think I was able to contact him. Everywhere I go I seem to run into a new learning curve.
 

island schwinn

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Thanks AGAIN ricobike! It took me a few minutes to figure out how to contact a member directly but once I got rid of the "@" and just used the rest, I think I was able to contact him. Everywhere I go I seem to run into a new learning curve.
I sent you a return PM.
 

island schwinn

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
At the top right oc the page,you'll see your user name and the red number next to it.click on your user name and then an envelope icon will be at the top. Click the icon and the click on the message.
 

41compax

Look Ma, No Hands!
At the top right oc the page,you'll see your user name and the red number next to it.click on your user name and then an envelope icon will be at the top. Click the icon and the click on the message.
I give up for now - thought I had it but it says I have to send a valid message. I don't think these problems were around in 1941 before I was born. Anyway, I just try to reply here.

Hi Island Schwinn, Now I find that the PMs are delivered to my Junk file, similarly to regular post notifications - I was sure having trouble trying to find the PM tab on the CABE. Here are some pics of what I have. My spokes really are 11 3/8" as measured from the very beginning of the bend and not overall length - and there are or were some 11 1/4" spokes for sale on ebay, so I'm sure that length was made too. My nipples really are a hair over 13/16" total length, so if yours are 3/4" total length, they would be 1/16+" too short too and not match what I have. That said, if you ever find some 11 3/8" Torrington spokes or 13/16" nipples, please keep me in mind as I'd buy an extra set simply to avoid trying to find more replacements in the future. Thanks again!

spoke.nipple.a.jpg


spoke.nipple.b.jpg


spoke.nipple.c.jpg


spoke.nipple.d.jpg


spoke.nipple.e.jpg
 

41compax

Look Ma, No Hands!
If you have the original spokes they might be restorable.

I have the original spokes, just not enough good ones to have the 72 needed. That's why I'm trying to find enough NOS spokes and nipples to do one wheel. Between the 2 wheels, I should have more than enough to do one wheel, using the best of the 62+ spokes I have. Thanks!
 

41compax

Look Ma, No Hands!
I HAVE ORIGINAL NOS TORRINGTON NIPPLES 3/4 INCH 0.80 FLAT FOUR SIDES IF YOU NEED THEM.
WESPINCHOT@YAHOO.COM
Thanks for the offer but since I have lots of time consuming things left to do - like some rechroming - I'm going to hold out for now and see if I can find enough of the 13/16" 2 sided nipples before I really need them. If that doesn't work out, then I'll keep you in mind. Thanks again.
 

41compax

Look Ma, No Hands!
Take a known good spoke and look it over carefully and then match.
-check the headstamp on known correct spokes: is there a mark (say, a "U" or an "R" or a brand stamp)?
-What is the shape of the spoke head - domed or flat? Some companies polished them down, some left domed.
-what length is the spoke? Lots of Torringtons in middleweight and ballooner sizes, but not as many in lightweight sizes.
-What color is the finish? Light grey? Darker grey with a rough/thick finish? Anti-rust coatings varied.
-Make sure you match the shape of your known good spokes (double-butted, straight gauge, tapered, etc)
-How long is the elbow on it? Brands varied on the length of the spoke elbow, and newer spokes often have longer elbows than older ones.

My philosophy is to match as many of those elements as possible without worrying too much about the brand. Usually I'm looking for a handful of spokes to round out a wheelset where a couple need replacing. If the spoke essentially matches what I have already, I don't care too much about brand. I'm sure museum-grade collectors are pickier than me though.

The odds of finding verified, known Torrington lightweight spokes possible, but you'll need to be patient. You'll want to buy from a bike collector who knows his stuff, and who probably has spokes he knows are Torrington (maybe still in the correct box). Buying "in the wild" on eBay from guys with bundles of unknown spokes usually will yield something made by Union in the 1960s-70s, at least in the 26 inch lightweight bike wheel sizes.

Hi SirMike1983, I can now confirm that my 11 3/8" original spokes, the too short NOS Torrington spokes in their original box that I bought just for the 2 sided 13/16" nipples, and the right length straight - not double butted - Torrington spokes in their original box all have a 90 degree X on the top of the domed heads. Had you not asked your questions, I would have continued to buy "blind" but now I know what questions to ask sellers about otherwise unbranded NOS spokes in bulk. Knowing such a small detail that I might never have stumbled on by myself is a very big deal to me - THANKS!
 

41compax

Look Ma, No Hands!
Take a known good spoke and look it over carefully and then match.
-check the headstamp on known correct spokes: is there a mark (say, a "U" or an "R" or a brand stamp)?
-What is the shape of the spoke head - domed or flat? Some companies polished them down, some left domed.
-what length is the spoke? Lots of Torringtons in middleweight and ballooner sizes, but not as many in lightweight sizes.
-What color is the finish? Light grey? Darker grey with a rough/thick finish? Anti-rust coatings varied.
-Make sure you match the shape of your known good spokes (double-butted, straight gauge, tapered, etc)
-How long is the elbow on it? Brands varied on the length of the spoke elbow, and newer spokes often have longer elbows than older ones.

My philosophy is to match as many of those elements as possible without worrying too much about the brand. Usually I'm looking for a handful of spokes to round out a wheelset where a couple need replacing. If the spoke essentially matches what I have already, I don't care too much about brand. I'm sure museum-grade collectors are pickier than me though.

The odds of finding verified, known Torrington lightweight spokes possible, but you'll need to be patient. You'll want to buy from a bike collector who knows his stuff, and who probably has spokes he knows are Torrington (maybe still in the correct box). Buying "in the wild" on eBay from guys with bundles of unknown spokes usually will yield something made by Union in the 1960s-70s, at least in the 26 inch lightweight bike wheel sizes.

PS to my previous post: In the blue box of Torrington spokes, there were several 12 1/4" length "odd ball" spokes. The nipples that someone had screwed onto a few of them are similar to the Torrington nipples but the nipple tops - with the screwdriver slot - are larger and sort of shaped like a mini flying saucer. The spoke heads themselves are domed and embossed with what looks like a 4 leaf clover. Do you have any idea what brand those are?
 
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