|1920s Labor 'Course' truss frame.|
Here's the current bicycle project on the go. It's a Labor truss frame, the age is currently unknown. Labor made truss frame cycles from c1906 through until the late thirties. Judging from other examples out there I'm guessing this one is early twenties. If there are any Labor experts out there who can enlighten, the frame number is 100133.
The Labor came to me with a small job lot of cycles imported from France, I kept a couple and sold on a couple. I've wanted a Labor truss frame for a good while, apart from looking great they have a connection with a personal hero of mine, Major Taylor. Major Taylor rode in the States for Iver Johnson who pioneered the truss frame design, he came over to France and with him a fashion for truss frames began. At one point Major Taylor rode for Labor too.
As it came to me the Labor was heavily rusted and had been updated sometime in the thirties or forties to a 'porteur' style and then later abandoned in poor storage. The wheel rims were rotted through though they quite likely weren't correct anyway. The frame and forks were thankfully sound though and the cranks and seat pin were original.
The handlebars and stem that came with were likely not original and were fused into the forks. Unfortunately they had to be sacrificed in removing them. The paint is original and I've tried my best to preserve it. I wrapped the frame and forks in cloths sodden in 'evaporust' and then wrapped it all in clingfilm and left for 24 hours. Overally a pretty horrible and messy process but it worked. After de-rusting I've treated it with beeswax. Not a bad finish overall, I would have liked to have gotten a bit tougher on the remaining rust but was worried about losing paint.
The wheels (700B or 28 x 1 1/2 in British parlance) I had from another project and should suit nicely. The handlebars shown are temporary, they are appropriate but I'm getting used to them visually, drops would probably be more in keeping.
Hopefully before too long another post with the finished article pictured.
|The red headstock is a distinctive|
|French manufacturers tended to use lugless construction|
more than their British counterparts.
|There should be a chain tensioner with a shouldered|
nut that engages in the slots in the dropout.
|Overall I'm quite pleased with the finish that the|
Evaporust gave. Parts like the seatpost that were
submerged in a bath of it came out far better than
the frame which I had to wrap in soaked cloths.