Bicycle Manufacturers Vs. Bicycle Badges

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American Vintage Bicycle Supply

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A lot of times I see someone referring to their bicycle as being built by Elgin, J.C. Higgins, Columbia etc.....

When trying to identify your bicycle's age, you need to also know the manufacturer, not just the badge name. Westfield, Colson, CWC, Schwinn and Murray are some of the most prominent bicycle manufacturers.

For example, the bicycle pictured below is built by Colson, but is badged as Firestone. In 1941, Firestone would have had a contract with Colson to supply their stores with Firestone badged bicycles.

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Also, not all Schwinns are badged as Schwinn. Schwinn would badge their bikes as Henderson, Ace, Lincoln, and many others names based on the retailer's preference that sold Schwinn built bicycles. In many cases for an order of multiple bicycles, the manufacturer would customize the badge to fit the retailers specifications.

For example, the Schwinn below is badged B.F. Goodrich. Like the Colson above, the bicycle was sold at a B.F. Goodrich location but build by Schwinn.

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Although these are very common examples, sometimes it can be a little more tricky.
Often, I hear someone refer to their bicycle as a Columbia, when the bicycle is badged Goodyear, or some other brand. Just like the others above, Columbia was just a Westfield Mgf. house name.

The J.C.Higgins you see below is a 1946. After the war, bicycles were in high demand. Retailers like Sears (J.C. Higgins) had more bicycle orders than they could handle, so they turned to multiple manufacturers like Westfield to build bicycles from leftover prewar parts.

Here this bicycle is badged as Higgins but built by Westfield....although the same frame might be badged as Columbia somewhere else, they are both Westfield built frames.

(Side Note: Sears Pre-WWII "Elgin"... Sears Post-WWII "J.C.Higgins")

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