1940's (?) Hawthorne Bicycle

Discussion in 'Zealot Archives' started by Mark Crowel, Jun 6, 2008.

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  1. Mark Crowel

    Mark Crowel Member

    Are there any bicycle historians who can tell me when this 26" balloon tire bicycle was built? After checking websites on old bicycles, I would guess the early 1940's. It is a Hawthorne, the brand name sold through Montgomery Ward. The parent brand of Hawthorne bicycles was Roadmaster, made by Cleveland Welding. This bicycle has the ridge-peaked "gothic" fenders that were characteristic of Roadmaster bicycles.

    The paint appears to be original. It has the "skip-tooth" chainring, and there are screws on the rear wheel bracket for adjusting the tension of the chain.

    I bought the bike for $48 at a yard sale in Galesburg, Michigan, about eight or nine years ago.

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  2. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    Hi Mark.

    My first thought was:

    Who stole the brakes! :eek:

    Second thought: I'd bet that the handlebars are not original. They don't match the style of the bike, and appear to be more corroded than any other part of a nicely preserved bike.

    Apart from that -

    I haven't a clue.:p

  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    This appears to be post-war. Late 40's, early 50's. I agree, the handlebars look a bit strange for that bike and they could be from an earlier model, perhaps even the 30's.
  4. Mark Crowel

    Mark Crowel Member

    You both may be right about the handlebar. It's of the "streamlined" wrap-around type, rather than the more common "steerhorn" type. However, that was the handlebar that was on it. I like that handlebar, because it allows me to have my hands closer to me, so I can sit more upright, and therefore more comfortably.

    I was thinking the bike is pre-war because of the "skip-tooth" chain, and the curved fender braces. I could be wrong.

    Logicman, I remember the very first time I rode a coaster brake bike (circa 1957). Me, frantically: "I can't stop! I can't stop!"
    Dad, and neighborhood spectators, in chorus: "Pedal backwards! Pedal backwards!"
  5. logicman

    logicman Greybeard


    The one and only time I ever rode a bike without checking the brakes first:
    Whitstable, Kent, 1959-ish. I borrowed my cousins bike. On a long steep downhill I found the brakes didn't work. I went straight across the coast road, through a hedge and was stopped by the gravel on the beach.:mrgreen:

    I used to race when younger - I've overtaken cars on a road called Death Hill - at night with no lights. I must have been crazy.:p

  6. Mark Crowel

    Mark Crowel Member

    Evel Kneivel had nothing on you! I'm glad you're still with us.
  7. armchair

    armchair New Member

    More about the bike.

    First off, you got it for just about retail. I got mine from Wards in 1948, had a tank, and cost my dad about $50.00. It had the steer-horn handle bars. When we left Oregon in 1949 I had to leave the bike and got my older (by 10 years) cousin's when I got to Nebraska. It had the handle bars like yours. As a kid I liked the other bars. All in all, a very good buy.

    Glen in Yuma aka Armchair
  8. Mark Crowel

    Mark Crowel Member

    Thank you for the comments. Rather than restore it, I think I'll just clean it up and wax it, and enjoy it as a fair weather "driver".
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