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I recently saw a bicycle on display that was labeled as circa 1895 (from the White Crown bicycle company), and the fork blades appear to be made from a single piece of tubing bent into a U-shape (see image). All other bikes I've seen from that era appear to use separate pieces for each blade. Is it possible this bike is later than 1895 or was that design actually in use by then?

White crown bicycle c. 1895

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    Its probably not bent, it is probably a casting and the legs/tines are brazed on. Then its finished by sanding and painted to hide the method.
    – Criggie
    May 22, 2019 at 19:39

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According to the post the bike display said "circa 1895" so the claim is that it was made around 1895. Is this believable?
I think it is. During this period there was a lot of creativity directed at bicycles and there was a lot of variety in construction methods.

To validate the approximate year on the bike I thought to find another reference for the same bike. Searching for "White Crown Bicycle Company" in a variety of search text strings came up with nothing.

Next, I looked to find bikes from the period with similar looking construction. During my hunting it was clear that your observation was mostly true.

All other bikes I've seen from that era appear to use separate pieces for each blade.

Most of the forks in that era were obviously constructed with individual blades and some type of stamped or forged crown.

Here is a picture of an 1892 Iver Johnson No. 1 Diamond Safety Bike with what might be similar construction methods
enter image description here
It's not exactly the same but it's similar and it's very different from the crown with blades fork.

The rear stays seem to have a similar construction
enter image description here I spent a lot of time reading the article on this bike to try to verify that the fork blades and frame stays are actually tubing and not just bent solid steel. As near as I can tell it really is tubing.

As Criggie said, the fork in the original post may not be a single bent tube.

The fork and rear stay in the pictures I've posted may not be a single bent tube. It could be a rounded crown with blades brazed onto posts and smoothed out to look like a single tube.

My thought is that if the bike below is from 1892 then it's reasonable to think that the bike in the original post is circa 1895.

If you send your picture and information to Colin at The Old Bike Museum he might provide you with better information.

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  • Oh man, that saddle!
    – L.Dutch
    May 23, 2019 at 5:19
  • Not just the saddle - the whole damn bike is gorgeous!
    – IconDaemon
    May 23, 2019 at 14:14
  • 30" radial spoke wheels, 7/8 inch tires, weight = 49 pounds, chain adjustment is done by adjusting the bottom bracket, $85 in 1991 = $2400 today. This was the budget version. You could get pneumatic tires for $115
    – David D
    May 23, 2019 at 15:06
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The first bicycle made with headstock, diamond frame and both wheels of the same size,was John Kemp Starley's machine made in 1895. Propulsion was by modern-looking bicycle pedals and rear chain,the power supplied by a pair of flailing human legs. This new design remained un-altered for five years, before Goorge Singer changed all that, with his patented front fork, in 1890. This design now included a curved section at the lower end of the fork, to allow for some flexing as a form of very rudimentary suspension. What George could not have known at the time, however, was that his new,in-built trail angle removed the inevitable 'shimmying or 'shaking' of the straight front forks over uneven road surfaces. This grim malady disapeared with this new design. The essential trail angle should be about 100mm, which translates to around 22-24 degrees, and can be measured by taking a straight line from the headstock to the roadway, and a vertical line through the front axle.Simple, but so very effective. Lester Morris, Sydney, Oz.

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    Welcome to the site - Is there a minor typo in your years? 1895 is not 5 years before 1890. What are the right values ?
    – Criggie
    Apr 12 at 2:28
  • I saw the same and had the same question about the dates.
    – Ted Hohl
    Apr 12 at 7:07
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    this is interesting info, but unrelated to the question, which is about the fork crown, not the curvature of the lower legs
    – Andrew
    Apr 12 at 12:00

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