1938 Elgin Twin 20 ‘Model 502’

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1938 Elgin Twin 20

Model 502

(Now sold)

This is a fabulous ‘dream bike’ produced by the top quality American manufacturer Elgin, which was famous in the late thirties for its spectacular and unique bicycle designs.

It is restored and ready to ride.

Elgin Twinbar Bicycles were made by Murray of Ohio and Sold by the Sears Department stores from 1938-1942. Its ‘suspension bridge’ open frame is a design classic. Other design features are the teardrop pod around the bottom bracket, finned air-cooled hubs, and the unique head shroud with Elgin script. This script borrows heavily from Ford’s 1930s V8 logo. In fact, with its gothic fenders and other thirties features, it definitely has a sort of American automobile style about it.
Deluxe twinbar models were also produced, fitted with accessories such as tank, twin headlights, carrier rack, etc. But the basic ‘stripped down’ Twin 20 of 1938 is my favourite for its uncluttered appearance and Elgin head shroud. The clean lines undoubtedly show off its remarkable style to best effect.




Says bicycle historian Phil Marshall:

 Sears offered the Elgin Twin-Bar model for about three and one half years beginning in the fall of 1938 and ending in late 1941 or early 1942. The model’s offering spans seven editions of their large, biannual mail order catalogs. These biannual Sears mail order catalogs comprise the largest body of printed information collectors have used to study the Twin-Bar and its variations. Beyond the catalogs, there is at least one special seasonal flyer, a parts catalog, and patent office filings that are widely available in the public domain. 

The information contained in those publications is a good basis for understanding the bike but there are limitations. 

To begin with, the Twin-Bars themselves were built in batches by two different manufacturers and while there are clear differences that are manufacturer dependent, no mention of this was made in the Sears consumer literature.

The catalogs themselves are only the tip of the iceberg of the printed information that was produced by Sears and by the bicycle’s manufacturers. The manufactures produced and exchanged production and preproduction information with Sears’ design and marketing staff and Sears themselves produced much more detailed literature that was supplied to their retail stores for ordering purposes and other literature breaking down the bikes by model and part numbers for the purpose of ordering repair and replacement parts for them. None of that information is readily available today and for that reason, the information that most of us draw on is a limited picture of what was actually produced. This is made clear by variations found in original bikes that do not clearly match a specific documented catalog listing.

In addition to bicycles specified for, illustrated in, and marketed and sold through the mail order catalogs and seasonal flyers, versions were produced that were sold directly from the floor of Sears’ retail stores. Some of those bikes were no doubt identical to catalog bikes but some may have been built or ordered by the stores in configurations different from those offered in the catalogs.

























Although the Elgin ‘suspension bridge’ style appears very futuristic for a 1938 bicycle, this design was actually used by Raleigh as far back as 1890.

My 1890 Raleigh Road Racer is on the left (not an open frame) facing my friend John’s open frame 1890 Raleigh Roadster.


All historic info and pictures thanks to fellow enthusiasts on the wonderful thecabe forum
Photos: Stanmer Village, E Sussex
Stanmer village is first recorded in about 765 A.D. when (if the document is authentic) land there was granted by king Ealdwulf of Sussex to Hunlaf in order that he might found a college of secular canons at South Malling.  It was for long a closed village ruled by the resident lords of Stanmer, with a population static at just over 100. From the eighteenth century onwards the lords were the Pelham family, who lived at Stanmer House.

 Stanmer has a working farm at its centre. Near the church is an unusual survival, a donkey-wheel, i.e. a treadmill formerly operated by a donkey. There are 18th-century lodge-houses at the upper and lower ends of the park. The village was incorporated into Brighton in 1928, and the park passed into the hands of the county council in 1947. It is now a major public space.