Gentlemen and ladies, I'm risking your scorn by asking what may be an old chestnut of a question, but I have tried the archives and can't find an answer.
We've noticed a design "feature" on many frames from many countries and built over several decades: the rear brake reach is longer than the front. It seems most common on older ('60s) frames where centerpull brakes are spec'd, but certainly not exclusive to them. What's the purpose (or purposes) of it? And if it was a good idea back in the 1950s to early 1980s, why not now (other than the obvious, economy and simplified manufacturing)?
Thanks in advance (for any info and for your indulgence)
SF, CA, USA