Archive for the ‘vintage accessories’ Category

no identifying features

Here are two of my vintage/classic bike tail lights, both “unswitched” – the first is unbranded, made of a thermosetting plastic that looks a bit like black bakelite. I believe it was Australian made but I’m not certain. It is about as simple as you can get, relying on screwing in the cap to make contact between the bulb and “D” cell battery via copper tracks that mate at a certain point of  rotation. This light is to be fitted to my old speedwell bike, and has polished up nicely with metal polishing paste on all external parts.


bulb and contacts

the neat bracket is obviously designed for a seat stay

on my speedwell diamond frame

The second is the Eveready, made in the UK, of aluminium. This one is slightly more robust in build and the lens doubles as a rear reflector. I may be fitting it to my loop frame Speedwell when it is finished – it needs a tidy-up, as the alloy has oxidised in places.

it’s working

the rubber washer prevents shorting the battery on the spring

the reflector/lens

The main disadvantage with both these lights is that the large battery tends to rattle around when the light is off and may also turn on at times because of this. Some tweaking with rubber washers should help with this issue. Alternatively, I can remove the battery till needed as these bikes won’t get a lot of night use.

The “D” cells back then must have been mostly insulated on the top (+ve) terminal as the holding spring will short out the modern “D” cells via the terminal plate, unless this part is insulated.


Read Full Post »

woohoo! – they’e working

Vintage Eveready battery bicycle torch (L) and Australian army torch (R).

showing the rear mounting of the eveready

In a previous post, I showed an old Eveready army style torch that could be fitted to a bike light bracket. The batteries were supposed to be a No. 701A, however I couldn’t find any info on them online.

original packaging

I was playing around with a couple of “D” cell batteries yesterday and something jogged my memory. A quick search of my box of bits came up with these adaptors, and the original pack off one of them tells the story. Whatever the 701A was, these plastic and copper adapters were designed to upgrade the torch to take the new-fangled (sic) “D” cells. From the wording, it would seem that the old 701 battery came with the copper tracks on it, as a complete unit, and now it’s only necessary to buy the “D” cells once you have the adaptor.

The adaptor with “D” cells fitted is shown below :

the side copper track is for the bulb, the top one for the switch, which is screwed down to make contact

Here are some pictures showing how the working light fits two of my bikes :

speedwell “popular” loop frame

the loop frame speedwell has a bracket as part of the headset group

mounted on an accessory bracket on front hub – speedwell diamond frame

the same bike

front view

Next up, a working vintage battery powered tail-lamp…

Read Full Post »

Another one in my “Vintage Cycling Trivia” series, this single toe clip was found in my late Grandfather’s box of old bike bits. At least I know where it was made, but that’s about it !

ashby ace toe clip

Here also is a site for those interested in such vintage toe-clip trivia.

from the front

I rather like the diamond and heart shaped cut-outs and the interesting large strap cut-outs which are different from many other clip designs that have a small vertical strap loop at the very top. Having only the odd one means that it’s kept for nostalgia alone. I would be interested to learn of other  Ashby products, as there is not much info on the web.

upside down

from below

This clip looks very similar to the one called “Boa Constrictor” (lol !) in the attached link.

Read Full Post »

Which bike part do you think is the one that can be easily interchanged between bicycles and cars?

That’s simple! – the Schrader valve caps…

old complete schrader valve made in great britain (lhs), valve inserts (centre), caps made in usa (rhs)

my collection of mostly woods (dunlop) valves and caps etc.

Apart from the occasional Woods/Dunlop (old roadsters?) and Presta (racers?) type valves, most bike tyre valves would be of the Schrader type. The obvious advantage of these is that you can use automobile tyre pumps, as well as fit automobile valve caps to them.

they would look nicer if the modern tubes had all metal fittings

I do try to keep nice ones on my “classic” bikes and I have a couple of jars that I keep them in, ready to swap them over to the next project. The caps help to  keep grit out of the tyre valves and may also help to slow a leaking valve in some cases, if they have an airtight seal on it.

gazelle – these dunlop valves have been fitted with new screw on schrader adapters

I wonder if anyone out there has a major collection of these – I have a few in my stash that I find vaguely interesting, and of course there are modern gimmicky ones that you can buy from auto shops too, like coloured anodised dice, bullets and 8-balls for example (I think that little skulls would be a good theme, e.g. for fixed gear or BMX).  I did see some flashing blue LED light versions for bikes advertised recently too…

my fave – i reckon this one is ancient – made in g.t.b. br.pat.no.361075_?

Though appearing much the same here, when I looked closer, the cheap plastic ones below  have a wide variety of brand markings on the tops – oddly collectable maybe, but they just don’t do it for me …

i just can’t throw them away..

I am more interested in the old metal ones, and though I haven’t gone out of my way to gather them, I think that if I were a collector of such things then at least they wouldn’t be taking up a lot of space, unless each one was attached to a classic bike, that is!

made in great britain

marked “schrader canada” – the end is a valve extractor tool, sometimes fitted with a rubber protector cap

a very nice one – brass w/ rubber cap marked “pacific” with 2 five point stars 

unmarked domed hex – 1970s ?

Of course, this smallness of scale also means that only the most ardent and obsessive of bicycle spotters will admire your stunning array of vintage valve caps – most will be too busy checking out the rest of your lovely restored classic to even notice … teehee.

When I was a kid, I can remember fixing punctures with vulcanising patches that worked by clamping a disc to the tube, scratching the back and lighting it (gunpowder in paper?) and then waiting for it to cool to peel off.

I think there are some pieces of these below, along with an old dunlop patch & glue kit and valve extractor tools :

note also the rubber and chalk tin “moseley”

Total trivia, huh?

Read Full Post »

I know there are a lot of battery powered lights on the market, but you can’t beat the pedal powered dynamo for instant readiness and low maintenance. Having a backup battery “stand light” is a good idea though, for when you are stopped, if you ride in totally dark areas at night ( e.g. the Fernleigh Track ) especially.

miller switched headlamp

miller switched headlamp - 1950s ?

Here are some of examples of generator (dynamo) lights from my grandfather’s collection of bicycle paraphernalia. They are made by Miller of Great Britain. The generator is a 6V  and 3.24W output. They still work, although the lamp reflectors have dimmed somewhat and perhaps the generator magnets have weakened over time. A modern light and dynamo like the Shimano dynohub / Busch and Muller Lumotec combo on my Gazelle gives brighter results with less pedalling effort.

miller bullet headlamp - unswitched c.1950s

The little button opens the light to access the bulb. This light is mounted upside down under the front rack.

the miller name is moulded into the glass

Here is the Miller dynamo fitted to my old Speedwell – it all works, though I still prefer to use the Gazelle at night as it also has reflective side-stripes on its tyres and a capacitor stand backup on the tail lamp as well. The B&M light appears to be plated plastic though, and lacks the reflective surface lustre of these vintage lights

bottle generator mounted on my speedwell seat stay

my spare generator is probably unused

I found this bullet shaped tail light at an antique shop last year, while I was rebuilding the Speedwell, it matches the headlight shape better than the #598.

bullet tail lamp on my speedwell

the concentric reflector

I have a few of the “No.598” tail lamp/reflector – the plating on these fittings is of excellent quality and highly rust resistant – what has happened to quality plating since then, I wonder?

model no. 598 with full reflector

There are a few of these or similar Miller lights on sites like ebay, but information on the company itself is hard to find.

Read Full Post »

Here are a couple of very old battery lights for bicycles. The rear lights are about as simple as you can make – a spring holds the battery away from the bulb terminal until the body is screwed on far enough to compress it and make contact with the bulb. As the body is unscrewed the spring pushes the battery away from it to turn the light off.

battery tail lights - with no switch

the battery goes here - simple and austere

with seat stay bracket and reflector/lens

this dimple is the negative contact!

The blue one is stamped “Eveready” “Made in England” and the black one looks like bakelite and is unmarked. Both are from my grandfather’s collection.

The headlamp / torches above are multi purpose, perhaps for army / boy scout / camping, fishing etc. uses. The black one is marked “Eveready” “Made in England” and has a fitting for a bicycle light bracket on the back.

just the thing for your rusty old roadster ...

To operate the Eveready, the knob screws down. The brass Kempthorne knob pushes down and twists to lock.  The Eveready takes a battery size called No. 701A .

made in australia

The brass one is dated “1944 Aust” – I believe it may be an army torch, it has a sort of large pocket clip on the back.

Read Full Post »

my clips

Remember these ? Just the thing to keep the tweed trousers clean while riding your fixed gear bike around town in winter. They are still available today, believe it or not, in both types – the ring clip and the vertical peg. There are some nice nickel plated ones available new that I found on this site in the U.K. The whole idea of trouser clips does seem rather a British one doesn’t it !

WV or VVV ?

Although pointless while wearing shorts in the Australian summer I have used mine on trousers in winter quite often. I prefer the vertical clips as they don’t cut off circulation to my feet and they are not easy to dislodge either. I well recall getting trousers chewed up as a kid and also a teenager, particularly as it was the decade of “70s flares”…

the vertical clip

These are “WV” brand ( or is that VVV ? ), probably around 50 years old.

"Terry's" ring clip

The ring clips are stamped “Terry’s Made in England” , and this company made sprung motorcycle and bicycle saddles and accessories such as pump and tennis racket clips. This interesting site shows some catalogues and products.

Here is the pump clip, also from my collection :

Terry's 1" x 7/8" Rex Pattern Inflator Clip


Happy Cycling!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »