1898 Iver Johnson Fitchburg Gentlemen’s Roadster

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Cycle racing was the world’s most popular sport in the 1890s and early 20th century. The succes of the ‘Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle Works’ on the race track provided a massive boost to the company’s bicycle sales, particularly when they launched their truss frame machine in 1900 (above and below).

The bicycle featured here is the 1898 model with a porcelain headbadge.

 

1898 Iver Johnson Model F Fitchburg Gentlemen’s Roadster

22″ Frame

28″ wooden wheels

 

Iver Johnson ended their ‘Fitchburg’ range of bicycles in 1898. American cycle manufacturers were having problems at this time because of over-production in the industry, and had to consolidate their models. Nevertheless, within a few years Iver Johnson introduced their new flagship model, the Truss. With its success on the racetrack providing the best advertising possible at that time, they became one of the leading US cycle makers.

As a result, most of the surviving early Iver Johnson bicycles are truss bridge models, and pre-1900 diamond frame IJ’s are scarce. I’ve looked for one for many years, so I was happy to spot this barn find, particularly as it features my favourite IJ headbadge, with a ceramic insert in the centre. (They were made by the same company that supplied Orient cycles).

These photos show it assembled out of the box, with repro saddle and grips fitted. There’s a repair on the left side pedal crank. I must also decide what route to take regarding its wheels – whether to retain these and swap with a metal wheelset for riding; or to remove the petrified tyres and fit replacements. For now, I’ll enjoy looking at it ‘as found’ and attend to its requirements at a later date.

 

 

 

1898 IVER JOHNSON CATALOGUE EXTRACTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1898 IVER JOHNSON v 1899 LOVELL DIAMOND

 

1899 LOVELL DIAMOND: I’ll create a museum page for it after the sun shines sufficiently for me to take photos of it

 

1898 PORCELAIN HEADBADGES: IVER JOHNSON & ORIENT

TO SEE THE

ORIENT PORCELAIN HEADBADGE

PLEASE CLICK HERE