I got this for chump change,... what is it?

Jun 20, 2020
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I've compared this to a number of frames but am still scratching my head. Skiptooth chain and sprocket, shockmaster fork with a broken spring. SN: "H" followed by 6 digits.





 
Jul 30, 2013
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My best guess is a Huffman-built rainbow frame bike that may have been badged as a Western Flyer. The CABE sprocket guide indicates that chainring was commonly used on WF.

Fabulous score, by the way! Get yourself a saddle and, by all means, rescue that chain!
 
Jun 20, 2020
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Thanks!
Any tips on restoring the chain would be greatly appreciated! As I've peeled away the onion, learned that chain might be several times what I paid for the whole bike!
 
Nov 17, 2018
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Yes sir , trans fluid .
1942 to 1944 generally used one letter followed by five or six numbers

 
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I checked out "vintagesmericanbicycles.com". The example of the 42-44 sn is one from June '44. This ends in "6" which might designate "June". All the numbers add up to 22 which is half of 44. I applied this to my numbers and came up with "May '42". Any thoughts?
 
Jan 21, 2009
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"1945-1947 generally used a “H” followed by six numbers."
5 or 6 Digits could be 42-44 as noted above.

In 1947, Huffman (Huffy) went to a serial number system that put the last digit of the year first before the H. That makes it easy for later Huffys. 7H at the beginning would be a 47 or 57 or 67, you could tell the year by the features from each decade. So, yours is before 47. The last numbers of a serial number are normally the build number. A year and/or month would be at the beginning. So I guess yours is anywhere from 42 to early 47.

A 40's Huffman. Wish I had one, even a bare frame would do.
 
Jun 20, 2020
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A 40's Huffman. Wish I had one, even a bare frame would do.
I am stoked! Mostly disassembled currently.
That literature I have says the same thing. What would a 42-44 Huffy look like back then?
View attachment 129605
The 40's cruisers all seem to have great profiles. However this build turns out, I'd like to end up with a look similar to "stock".
Thanks to all! Great info!
 
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Jan 6, 2016
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I checked out "vintagesmericanbicycles.com". The example of the 42-44 sn is one from June '44. This ends in "6" which might designate "June". All the numbers add up to 22 which is half of 44. I applied this to my numbers and came up with "May '42". Any thoughts?
The only way to actually tell the year on Huffman's from the early 40's, until 48, was the date code on the original fork.

Here is a July 1943 example
43 huffman fork.jpeg


My June of 1944 Huffman has this date code on the fork, and this serial on the hanger bracket.
20190818_165924.jpg
20190818_165639.jpg


Whereas in 1947, they started with the 7H*****, similar to this.
11 serial number.jpg

Which was the last year for the frame style in the original post.
17.jpg
 
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Jan 21, 2009
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The only way to actually tell the year on Huffman's from the early 40's, until 48, was the date code on the original fork.

Here is a July 1943 example
View attachment 130328

My June of 1944 Huffman has this date code on the fork, and this serial on the hanger bracket.View attachment 130319View attachment 130318

Whereas in 1947, they started with the 7H*****, similar to this.
View attachment 130322
Which was the last year for the frame style in the original post.
View attachment 130325
That's great info!
I have the fork ID info also but thought it wouldn't help because he hasn't got the original forks. But it could help ID the year.

Your build number is 308235 while a 1944 bike is 174066.

134,169 bikes were made between the two of them, if those numbers were kept in sequence at the factory. From June of 44, how long did it take them to produce 134,169 bikes?

About 65 working days if they made 2500 bikes a day. With 20 working days per month, late 1944 would be my guess as to when yours was built.
 
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Jan 6, 2016
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That's great info!
I have the fork ID info also but thought it wouldn't help because he hasn't got the original forks. But it could help ID the year.

Your build number is 308235 while a 1944 bike is 174066.

134,169 bikes were made between the two of them, if those numbers were kept in sequence at the factory. From June of 44, how long did it take them to produce 134,169 bikes?

About 65 working days if they made 2500 bikes a day. With 20 working days per month, late 1944 would be my guess as to when yours was built.
that is a good estimate, however I would think it may be wrong.

By the end of 1942, only 2 manufacturers were allowed to build bicycles in the U.S., Huffman and Westfield (Columbia), also by that time, production was about 150,000 Victory bicycles per year (civilian bicycles). It wasn't until 1945 that balloon tire bicycles started to be built again, and they rolled off the line as quickly as they could build them.

==========================================


from the Smithsonian Institute.

Soon after the United States entered World War II, the federal government decided that bicycles should be brought under consumer manufacturing guidelines so that they might support conservation efforts, local transportation, and the war production work force. A series of orders reduced bicycle design to bare essentials, limited metal and rubber content, set output quotas, promoted the use of bicycles among adult civilians, allocated bicycles for military use, and suspended production of children's bicycles, which comprised 85 percent of the prewar market. These measures were designed to conserve rubber and metals needed for war materiel and complement gasoline and automobile tire rationing by providing an alternate form of transportation for war production workers and other workers.

In December 1941, the Office of Production Management and leading manufacturers developed specifications for a simplified bicycle dubbed the "Victory bicycle" by government and media. OPM reviewed several prototypes submitted for examination. Regulations finalized in March 1942 specified that bicycles would be lightweight - not more than 31 pounds, about two-thirds the weight of prewar bicycles - and they would be made of steel only, with no copper or nickel parts. Chrome plating was limited to a few small pieces of hardware. Handlebars and wheel rims would be painted instead of chrome plated, and most accessories (chain guard, basket, luggage rack, bell, whitewall tires) were eliminated. Tire size was limited to a width of 1.375 inches, narrower than balloon tires on prewar children's bikes.

Production was set at 750,000 Victory bicycles per year by twelve manufacturers, approximately 40 percent of total prewar production but a significant increase in annual production of adult bicycles. The manufacture of all other types of civilian bicycles was halted.As a prelude to rationing, the federal government imposed a freeze on bicycle sales and allocated almost 10,000 bikes to war production plants for use by workers and messengers. By July 1942 the Office of Price Administration estimated that 150,000 Victory bicycles and 90,000 prewar bikes were available for retail sale. OPA rationed new and prewar men's and women's bicycles. Any adult who was gainfully employed or contributed in some way to the war effort or public welfare could purchase a bicycle if she or he could cite a compelling reason, such as inadequate public transportation, excessive walking, or responsibility for a delivery service.

In August 1942 eligibility was further restricted to persons in critical occupations, including physicians, nurses, druggists, ministers, school teachers, mail carriers, firefighters, police officers, construction workers, delivery personnel, public safety officers, and others. By the summer of 1942, American Bicyclist and Motorcyclist reported that thousands of war production workers were riding bicycles to their jobs, and new and used bikes were in great demand. Some companies owned fleets of bicycles for work-related uses such as reading electric meters.

In September 1942 the number of authorized Victory bicycle manufacturers was reduced from twelve to two, and the WPB decided that "no firm left in a business from which others are excluded shall be permitted to spread its name over the land and in foreign countries".
 
Jan 21, 2009
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You had to fill out a form and get it approved to be able to buy a bike.
603946_10151287648611737_108222133_n.jpg


They weren't wasting a scrap of metal. My 42 Hawthorne had a BB with 2 round blanks welded in at the factory. The serial numbers were added after so it had to be factory. I figured someone drilled the holes in the wrong spots but they had to use that part anyway and welded in a couple slugs.
DSCI0020 - Copy (2).JPG


You're right about the numbers. I found another Huffman on the Vintage American Bicycles page, H423670 as a 45-46 bike. So, as production took off right after the war, there were probably record numbers of bikes being made daily. So, the bike in question is most probably pre-1947, and early postwar.