Tutorial Prewar Schwinn rack reflectors

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Dan Shabel

Finally riding a big boys bike
This tutorial will be brief as a picture is worth a thousand words or so! Its pretty simple but there is some confusion and also there are some......unscrupulous sellers. Just because someone is selling an item and states it is 'the correct part'....don't take things at face value. Do a little research-this tutorial is part of that research. This tutorial applies only to prewar Schwinn rack reflectors. As you know Schwinn had different levels based on quality and the 'deluxe-ness' of their bikes. The top bikes got the best equipment and as the next 'lower' bike-had lesser equipment. You can easily see this if you are a prewar Schwinn collector in almost all their models. This also applies to the rear rack reflectors. Documentation is weak and the first time much is actually documented for the dealers and customers alike was the 1940 Schwinn Dealer parts catalog. This catalog was probably one of the biggest undertakings by Arnold Schwinn Company and has never had another undertaking like this awesome piece of literature -taking years to complete. It was at the bequest from the dealer network. Prior to that the briefest mention of such details in sales catalogs-basically letting you know 'something was there'.....period. The first two reflectors came out in 1936 but first listed in 1940 catalog creating confusion as to when they came out. The dx reflector came out before but was being used for other things and makes of bike-date unknown. What I want to talk about are the three main racks found on the prewar Schwinns that took reflectors. The first is the 6 hole deluxe rack-available with chrome top(with painted legs) and also a 6 hole painted/enamel finish version. Respectively these are the chromed rack-part number 2104 and the painted version-part number 2110. the third rack I would mention is the 9 hole 'dx' rack-part number 2108. Each has there own specific(correct!) reflector. The chromed top rack 2104 comes with reflector 487(first picture on the left). The next is for the painted rack 2110-the 'marble' reflector-part number 500(first picture in the middle). Last is the 480 'dx' reflector (third in the picture)for rack 2108. All these have glass-not plastic. I know there are plastic versions-especially the 'dx' version found on bikes-but the original is glass(has internal honey comb look). Please note in the second picture the correct attachment hardware for each. The biggest confusion comes on the deluxe rack reflector-please look at picture three. Note that one has a nice nickeled trim piece on it and the other seems rather plain(pot metal casting). Both are made by the same company(introduced circa 1935)View attachment 1624820

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but when supplied to the Arnold Schwinn Company they kicked it up a notch by adding the trim piece. Other than that it is just a road sign reflector. The road sign reflector is not the correct reflector-close but no cigar! Pretty basic-study pictures-chromed/deluxe(first) the painted version rack(second) the 'dx' version(third).
I recently picked up what I believe to be a 39 Motorbike. It has this reflector on it. Comparing it to your picture it is slightly different. I have no way to know if it is original or not.

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mr.cycleplane

Riding my Motorbike
thanks dan for sharing-that reflector has been on there a long-long time! there are many reflectors-color-size-shapes that have been found on these racks-i have had a wild assortment of them myself over the years. this tutorial is just a starting/reference point. although my tutorial has an air of absoluteness to it i do recognize many other reflectors show up on these bikes!
 

danfitz1

Finally riding a big boys bike
thanks dan for sharing-that reflector has been on there a long-long time! there are many reflectors-color-size-shapes that have been found on these racks-i have had a wild assortment of them myself over the years. this tutorial is just a starting/reference point. although my tutorial has an air of absoluteness to it i do recognize many other reflectors show up on these bikes!
Yes, and chrome on occasion apparently.
 

mr.cycleplane

Riding my Motorbike
OMG! the creature that won't die......please someone-turn him into the new disinformation czar!
Chrome on 'collectorized' bikes... once some one gets their hands on one of these racks they do as they see fit.
over 40 years of seeing, owning, buying, selling hundreds.... zero original unmolested bikes with a chrome bezel. I'd say
as close to gospel as it gets.
in your own words....'once someone gets their hands on one of these racks they do as they see fit'.......now leave it there and keep quiet! please.

BTW- you haven't been in the hobby over 40 years.
you should perhaps run a tutorial on 'collectorized' bikes as you do know a lot about that aspect of this hobby. maybe one on painting and another of seat restorations!
 
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