There is usually some sleuthing involved when it comes to restoring vintage bicycles. While that is definitely one of the satisfying elements of the restoration process, there also can be dead ends leading to unsolvable mysteries. The 1941 Goeland fork depicted above has an interesting hand drawn signature on the steerer tube. I haven’t been able to really isolate the letters, except for the “e” and the “g” at the end of the scribe. This kind of mark is unusual. I have seen stamped marks on frames, forks and components, such as the builder’s marks on a 1929 Griffon that I restored a while back, shown below.
The little bug-like mark is, I believe, the builder’s mark, and the “9” is a mark that was on each of the components of this 1929 Griffon, which I took to be a date code.
The 1941 Goeland’s freewheel also has a mark that I can’t quite make out. The freewheel has no other manufacturer’s marks or codes, just this elegant engraving on the cover plate, unlike the 1947 freewheel (from my 1947 Camille Daudon) show below, which has marks, plus a strange engraved signature on the back side of the freewheel, but no indication of the manufacturer.
Deciphering these marks can be challenging. Even standard marks can be hard to make out. While I was working the wheelset of the 1941 Goeland, I needed to remove a broken nipple and rusted spoke. Even though there is a clear manufacturer’s mark on the nipple, I still can’t make it out.
And that’s after enlisting my little magnifying glass – a relic from my parent’s gem collecting days.
The 1941 Goeland seems to be bursting with mysterious signatures. The above photo is the bike’s hand-made spoke protector. It has a beautifully engraved mark, shown above. With time, and a little more patience, and perhaps some help from technology and readers of this blog, I hope to solve these mysteries.
Reader Bruno (see comments below) has supplied the following information: The spoke protector is a “Le Pratique”, made by Lefol, and the Daudon freewheel is a J Moyne with an unusual hand drawn engraving. Here’s a vintage Moyne advert for reference: