Mark, Sounds like a lovely bike, glad you got to see it. Did you notice if it had the wrapped seatstays that are typical of British bikes?
Horizontal dropouts aren't truly horizontal, (I believe the term came
into use to differentiate them from the vertical dropouts that todays
bikes use. Sheldon Brown's excellent site has a number of examples
As for the small chainwheel, typical sizes for everyday riding and commuting tend to span the range from about 44t to 49t and with cogs in the 16t - 19t range being typical.
47t chainwheels are very common on fixed-gear bikes that don't have a handbrake because the number of teeth is a prime, so the wear on the rear tire from skipping or skidding is distributed evenly instead of over the same few spots (having either a cog or a chainwheel with a prime number of teeth will achieve the same end, and in fact the number of teeth on the cog and the chainwheel need only be coprime [prime in relation to each other] to accomplish even wear).
galen " coprime" pewtherer san francisco, ca, usa
On 10/5/07, Mark Cutrufelli <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Today in one local bike store in Columbia I was talking to a young man
> probably almost half my age (I am 57). He aparently did sales and
> mechanical. We were discussing saddles. When I told him I liked vintage
> bikes he told me he had a 40 year old Hurlow that was his "baby" . I said I
> remembered Hurlow was one of the great English builders but had not seen
> any. He had it there and showed it to me. It was an all chrome beauty he had
> rigged as a single speed using a very small chainwheel. He said it was not a
> track bike but I noticed the rear dropouts were angled somewhere between
> track and road. Not sure why, but he called them horizontal dropouts. The
> lugs were beautifully tapered - so thin at the tips- almost blending into
> the tubes. The only paint was red in the lug "windows"
> Mark Cutrufelli