Waterford Precision Cycles is the spiritual home of Paramount bicycles .
The business deals were complex , but , Waterford is the direct descendant of the special area , or special building , "the Paramount shop" , where Paramounts were made by hand .
Today , one of the people involved in owning and operating Waterford , Richard Schwinn , is the direct descendant of the man who founded the Schwinn factory , way back in 1895 .
Enter the site .
For historical facts , click on "Velorotica" .
There ARE mistakes on the Waterford site . They DO get a little bit fast and loose with the various names for the various models of Paramounts .
HOWEVER , the information on how to decode the particular serial number , of a particular Paramount frame , seems to be far and away the BEST Schwinn Paramount serial number information available . ( period )
Now then ,
About Nervex Professional lugs , and bottom bracket shells , and fork crowns . . .
Yes , those lugs were a machine-made way to achieve some of the "look" of a fancy custom hand-cut set of lugs . Yes , because they saved time , they were much cheaper to use than actual hand-cut lugs . Yes , they were stamped out by machine . Yes , they were seamed . Yes , the seams were big and ugly .
Many people ( including me ) just really love them anyway .
And yes , to make a Nervex Professional lug look good , it still needed quite a bit of finishing by hand . So , it still needed to be smoothed , filed , polished .
Quoting from the Waterford web site :
Frank Greco, a Chicago native, spent his war years in California, and stayed out in California after the war. During that time he started the San Diego Cycle Club, bought his first Paramount and became very successful at selling them. Around the time of the Korean War Frank moved back to Chicago to join Schwinn, first in the assembly department and then in the Parts Department. He also helped Ovie file frames when at the factory and, along with Stan Natanek, assembled Paramounts. In 1957, Frank was put in charge of building the Paramounts from scratch. He got help from another bike racer, Frank Brilando, who promoted the use of silver solder instead of brass with which to work. Silver solder meant a real revolution in frame building since it allowed brazers to use much lower temperatures than they needed for brass brazing. This kept more of the basic strength in the tubing and prevented other mishaps. It also simplified cleanup.
Greco worked feverishly for six months, learning everything he could how to build racing bicycles including fixtures, alignment and geometries. It was particularly tough because he couldn't take advantage of any of the old sources of framebuilding know-how. Schwinn's updated Paramounts now all sported Reynolds 531 double-butted tubing, Nervex lugsets and bottom bracket shells as well as Campagnolo dropouts. Up until then, only a few of the Paramounts had this level of equipment. To make production even more special, Schwinn cleared off an area right next to the office entrance and fenced off the Paramount frame shop from the rest of Schwinn's production. This area became known as "the Cage".
Frank started production in 1959. Wanda Omelian performed brazing almost from the outset, and Stanley Peters joined the group in 1960 to file. Joe Magnani developed the component side of the Paramount, working on race wheel building, Campagnolo derailleur systems and other top of the line equipment. Joe had quite a glorious history in racing including a stint in Europe before World War II. The Paramounts received the best of everything, including hand sprayed paint and the delicate pinstriping of Joe Brilando and Adam Smith.
The updated Paramount turned out to be quite a success. Production, which before amounted to fifty to one hundred frames per year, grew to several hundred per year by the mid-60's. By then, Frank began to expand staff to include Louise Redman who, along with Wanda, had become so closely identified with the Paramounts by the mid-70's.
Parts supply was always a challenge. The Nervex Professional lugset, a stamped lug with its well-known and ornate profile, required considerable work in order to make a good frame. In addition, the bottom bracket was poorly machined. Someone in the 50's had purchased a huge supply of bottom bracket shells that took better than a decade to finally use up. By the end of the 60's, resentment over these lugs and shells was so high that when the supply finally ran out in the late 60's, Schwinn sourced the Prugnat lugs as a substitute. This move was not popular since most people wanted the carefully filed and beautifully ornate Nervex lugs. Schwinn compromised by keeping the Prugnat bottom bracket shell while returning to the Nervex lugset.
Now Then !!
What we NEED is an exact date , or at least a year , for when they switched from all Nervex , to all Prugnat !!
And , also , what we NEED is an exact date , or at least a year , for when they switched from all Prugnat , to Prugnat bottom bracket shell , with Nervex Professional lugs !!
I own a very nearly all-original , 1966 P12 ( basic ) Paramount 10-Speed Road Racer ( not a Deluxe ) . It has full Nervex Professional ; lugs , bottom bracket shell , and fork crown ( I assume that the bottom bracket and fork crown are the Professional models ) .
I own a completely all-original , 1970 P15 Deluxe Paramount Touring ( which also happens to be the particular model and the particular year , to be called "The Diamond Jubilee Paramount" ) . It has full Prugnat ; lugs , bottom bracket shell , and fork crown .
I own a , 1972 P13 Deluxe Paramount Road Racer ( thanks Harvey ! ) & a 1972 P10 Deluxe 10-Speed Touring . They both have Prugnat bottom bracket shells , with Nervex Professional lugs , and the Nervex fork crowns ( I assume the fork crowns are the Professional model ) .
I really do love the STYLE of the Nervex Professional lugs . And , I ain't no professional frame builder . But , to my eyes , the Prugnat bottom bracket shell appears to be a much , much , better product than the Nervex bottom bracket shell .
So , if I were you , I would be happy about what my Paramount has , any of three ways :
1.) all Nervex Professional
2.) all Prugnat
3.) Prugnat bottom bracket shell with Nervex Professional lugs and matching Nervex fork crown
NOTE - of course the earlier Paramounts , from 1938 , up until sometime around 1959 - 1960 , used COMPLETELY different lugs !!
NOTE - speaking of the really old ones , just because they have one single fixed gear does NOT mean that they are "track racers" !! There are many bicycles out there , from many different builders , which happen to have been made to be single-speed , fixed-gear , road-racers !!
NOTE - yes , Nervex made MANY MANY different models of lugs . So , just saying that a frame has Nervex lugs does not really say much . Did you mean specifically Nervex Professional lugs ?
Yours Paramountally ,