Elgin Orioles were made in 1933, 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38. The model first appeared in the 1933 Sears Fall/Winter catalog. There are two series's of Orioles. The first series was made in 1933, 34, 35 and 36. The second series was made in 36, 37 and 38. The first series Orioles were made by Westfield. The second series were made by Westfield and Murray.
The frame of the 1933 first series Orioles have a normal motorbike style frame, no chain guard, and large wood, chrome plated metal clad rims. There was also an option to have 28 x 1 1/2" Allstate clincher rims.
This is a scan of the 1933 Sears Fall/Winter catalog page.
By 1935, Lobdel Straight Side Rims replaced the large wooden rims.
The optional 28" clincher rims were replaced by 28" cement on rims.
I would think that the 28" cement on rims would have come before the clinchers.
This is a scan of the 1935 Fall/Winter catalog page.
In 1936, the second series Oriole was introduced. The second series Orioles had a much longer top tube and a curved seat tube.
They came with chain guards, and 28" rims were no longer an option.
Another feature that was introduced in 1936 is Alemite lubrication.
The hubs, head tube and bottom bracket shell had grease fittings for a grease gun that came with the bikes.
The first Alemite hubs were made by Morrow.
This is a scan of the 1936 Sears Fall/Winter catalog page.
The Sears Morrow coaster brake, what makes this hub different than the normal Morrow coaster brake is the raised center band and the grease fitting.You can see the hub in this picture.
In the 1937, the Morrow brake was replaced by the Elgin Air Cooled Brake made by Musselman.
There are known examples of 1938 Orioles with the Morrow brake, so the use of the two different brakes may have overlapped during 1937.
Here is a scan of the 1937 Spring Summer Catalog.
Based on the two catalog pages above, I believe that the Elgin/Morrow coaster brake was only available in the second half of 1936.
All of the catalog pages that I have show the Oriole with cross braced bars. I have been told that there is another 1937 page which shows the Oriole with steer horn bars like the ones on my bike. Below are pictures of my 1936/7 Elgin Oriole. It has the wrong tires, and chainguard. It is missing the truss rods, fenders, drop stand, pedals and head badge.
It has a small dent in the down tube.
It also has some holes drilled in the non drive side chain stay. Does anyone know what these holes might have been for?
My guess is that the holes and the dent in the down tube are from a side car that was once attached to the bike.
The catalog pages were scanned from COLLECTABLE ELGIN-J.C. HIGGINS HAWTHORNE BICYCLES, SEARS & WARDS AMERICAN BALLOON TIRE BICYCLES FROM THE 1930'S-1960 James Hurd & T.A. Gordon, 1990, Antique/Classic Bicycle News.
This page was written with the help of members of The Classic and Antique Bicycle Exchange.
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