Re: [CR]Chronology of Brooks saddles?

(Example: Framebuilders:Alex Singer)

Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 09:20:46 -0700
From: "Chuck Schmidt" <chuckschmidt@earthlink.net>
To: Classic Rendezvous <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: Re: [CR]Chronology of Brooks saddles?
References: <006b01c2ea48$b389e9a0$4df1fea9@queensu.ca>


Paul Williams wrote:
>
> Hi folks,
>
> My weekly questions. Has anyone compiled a chronology of Brooks saddles - model numbers, badges, stamps, rail types, etc.? I know some are dated but what about those which do not have dates? What are the time ranges for certain models?

My Brooks 1908 catalog shows a B 17 Champion. I don't know how much earlier that saddle existed but the company dates to 1866!

Some posts from the CR archives (there's tons):

Subject: Re: [CR]Brooks timeline Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 16:17:41 +0100 From: Bob Reid <bob.reid1@virgin.net> To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>

Sarah,

You are possibly thinking of the searchable UK patent databases (accessible through http://www.patent.gov.uk) these contain the majority of the British, European & World patents inc. those for cycling related equipment downloadable in pdf format. These relate to the patent No.'s that are often found on some (but not all) Brooks saddles - really dependant on age. Some of these can be used to help date the saddle. In answer to a previous question regarding a saddle that had the old logo and a number '6826/49' on the cantle plate is replied (see Chuck I do read the archives :-) ;
> The Brooks logo and the patent application No. indicate that it was made
> between 1949 & 1951 !
>
> This patent (No.6826) was applied for March 12, 1949 (/49) and was published
> in full in 1951. Additionally the oval Brooks logo was discontinued in 1955.
> In this instance the year stamp which I think first appeared from the mid to
> late 1950's won't be much help.
>
> (the patent relates to electric hot rivetting the of the frame rods (saddle
> rails) to the back or cantle plate).

This was a particularly tricky question, as the number on the Saddle was the Application Number and not the final patent No. as recorded on the patent database and given to Brooks once there application was successfull.

There probably is no single way of easily dating Brooks saddles outwith the years that the two digit year/letter stamp was used, such was the myriad of production changes made over time. Anyone trying to put a +/- 2 or 3 years date on a saddlle without the date stamp, needs to look at (a) the style & cut of the cover (b) the type & wording of the embossed logo on the cover (c) any stampings on the underside of the cantle plate (d) any stamp on the underside of the cover (e) The type / arrangement of the tensioner and (e) The method of joining the saddle rails to the cantle plate.

I would add that though the 'new' logo appeared in late 54 early 55, many saddle continued for some time to be produced with the oval logo.

Maybe a dating article is a good opener for the French & British list. One component the French did love.....

Bob Reid Stonehaven Scotland ========================================================================

Subject: Now: Brooks Was: Can anybody identify this saddle? Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 23:26:08 -0800 From: Chuck Schmidt <chuckschmidt@earthlink.net> To: internet-bob@lists.davin.ottawa.on.ca CC: classicrendezvous@listbot.com References: 1

I'm not a Brooks saddle expert nor do I play one on television. Having said that I will admit to having seen many Brooks saddles so I'll try to answer your questions.

The following comments generally pertain to the B17 line of saddles (swallow, champion, champion narrow, sprint, etc).

There was a steady change in Brooks saddles after World War II to make them cheaper to manufacture. Up until 1955 the saddles had an oval logo stamped on the flaps, chamfered edges to the flaps, a solid brass name plate, solid brass rivets and a "keyed" nose tensioning pin (milled channels on each side), incised style-lines (character lines) on the upper sides of the saddle, and often were equiped with the splash shield glued on the underside.

After 1955, the logo stamped on the flaps was changed to the modified trapazoid shape still in use today. Stepped style-lines on the upper sides of the saddle were also introduced at this time. The tension pin in the nose was changed to an easier to manufacture pin with a small bump on one side to keep it from rotating with the tensioning nut. Over the years the solid brass rivets were changed to split steel rivets, the chamfering was eliminated, the bushes in the bag loops on the heel plate were eliminated, and the name plate was changed to anodized aluminum and then hot-stamped black plastic.

Also the saddle clamp for use with straight seat posts was simplified by eliminating the inner part of the clamp and the nuts and threaded square rod were changed to a simple rod and nut design.

Pre-WWII, the bag loops were bushes that pierced the back of the saddle but were not attached to the heel plate (cantle) and obviously were not very strong or robust. The frame was usually offered in either chrome or gloss black paint.

Often if you look closely at the underside of the frame you'll find a capital letter and two digits. The two numbers are the last two digits of the year of manufacture. The numbers and letters applied to the underside of the leather are a manufacturing code that Brooks no longer has any records of.

Could anyone else volunteer additional info as far as modifications and dates of change to Brooks saddles?

Chuck Schmidt South Pasadena, California http://www.velo-retro.com (check the Campy Timeline on the site) ========================================================================

Subject: Re: [Classicrendezvous] B15 vs. B17 Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2000 11:35:37 EDT From: "Donald Dundee" <rebour@hotmail.com> To: CaptBike@sheldonbrown.com, moos@penn.com, TheLocalSpoke@bigfoot.com CC: Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org

Well, sort of. Firstly, a comment about the B15 line vs the B17 line. The B15 line of Saddles, which included the B15 Standard, narrow and Swallow, was a lesser grade saddle than the B17. The leather used was thinner and generally rejected for inclusion in the B17 line. B15's normally employed a reinforcement under-patch which was intended to strengthen the saddle.This patch was not used on the B15 Swallow. Finally, perhaps teh most distinguishing feature of B15's was that they used hollow steel rivets. You can tell by the fact that they are split on the underside. The B15 line was produced until 1971, when it was discontinued for economic reasons within the company.

The B15 Swallow had cutaway sides that were interconnected underneath by a riveted plate. The B17 Swallow, which had a similar profile to teh B15, and utilized the same hardware, was an extremely well-crafted saddle. Made of heavier leather, it employed an integral stiffener wire, hand stitched within the side flaps, and a chrome-plated fastening plate on the underside. This model was produced until 1970/71, to the best of my knowledge, but according to george flegg, shop foreman at Brooks, it was made on a few occasions subsequent to 1971 on special order.

Both B17 and B15 lines were available in Black or Brown. Earlier versions of the B17 Swallow were available with optional "dull" finish. Also, earlier versions of the B17 swallow normally used black rails, with chrome rails optional.

There were also lightweight versions of the B17 Swallow (model B57) which employed stainless steel rails and aluminum cantleplate. these are quite rare as bi-metallic corossion often occured at the cantleplate/rail location, causing fatigue failure.

My 1970 WB Hurlow shown at Lars Anderson this past season was equipped with a B17 Swallow with shiny black finish. My 1950's Ephgrave had an earlier version of the B17 Swallow with optional dull finish, oval embossed logo, and early nameplate.

The last reiteration of the Swallow was in response to demand and did not hold a candle to earlier versions. This model, produced from the late 80's through mid 90's, had the side flaps riveted to an arch-shaped, black enameled, steel plate which connected the side flaps together with exposed copper rivets. The production of this saddle had nothing to do with Mike Kone or Bicycle Classics, but rather the company's interest in retro-introducing the item. It fell short of expectations. ========================================================================

Chuck Schmidt L.A.

.