June 4, 2017

I didn't know what "bike badges" even were.

But here are lots of glorious photographs. Via Metafilter.

Here's an article on bike badges:
In the beginning, badges were often acid etched. This process required a copper, zinc or steel plate (among other metals) to be covered with wax that is resistant to acid. Artists then use etching needles to scratch the design right down into the bare metal. The plate was then dipped into a bath of acid, dissolving all of the exposed line sections. The wax was cleaned off the plate and it was inked over. Only the ink in the etched lines remained after the plate was wiped down.

In the early days, popular head badge themes included birds in flight, war scenes, planes, imagery of gods and depictions of power....

16 comments:

rhhardin said...

The part of the frame that the handlebar stem goes into is called the head tube.

Robin Eatmon said...

The guys on American Pickers look for vintage bike badges when going through people's junk. Badges seem to be somewhat rare. Such a great show.

traditionalguy said...

Kind a like Baseball Trading Cards.

Fritz said...

Bad link on "Here's".

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Fritz. It's fixed now.

mezzrow said...

Just went to look up "Western Flyer head badges" on google. Found mine.

It's like when I see an old "Golden Guernsey" milk logo. I saw them all the time everywhere as a toddler some sixty years ago (Dad was a milkman) and now the sight of one brings your mind back in time. You see made real something your memory thinks it forgot, but it didn't. We humans seem to like that - I know I do.

BDNYC said...

Can't decide which is worse: bicyclists or bikers. Bicyclists are a more common nuisance in the city, where they use roads and sidewalks in scary and often unrpredictable ways, but out in small towns or in the country they don't cause much trouble. Bikers with their loud pipes and pathetic Halloween costumes are just awful wherever they are, but they are much rarer in the city. So I guess, since I live in the city, bicyclists are worse for me, although when I do see bikers I kinda wish they would ride bicycles instead.

Back to the topic, I have no clue why anyone would want these badges. Seems harmless enough. On the weirdness scale of bicyclists' habits, this ranks way below wearing-full-race-gear-spandex-even-though-you-are-an-amateur.

sodal ye said...

A pepe badge would be cool

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Back when things were made to last, styling was carefully crafted and people had pride in craftsmanship.

Now things are made to break within a few years, decay from corrosive freon, ethanol and made mostly of flimsy plastic parts by low wage/slave labor in foreign countries.

Etienne said...

I do something similar with thin brass that you can buy at the hardware store (easy to cut with scissors, and shape).

I used ferric chloride, just like etching a PC Board.

Brass Tag

Barry Dauphin said...

Is there a covfefe badge?

sodal ye said...

A Crusader badge would be cool too. Pedal the Saracen from the Holy Lands.

Danno said...

The badges were a distraction when the bicycle industry made durable but not very high-tech bikes. Today, with all of the technology in making bikes lighter and faster, most brands do not worry about badges. The Lance wannabees, i.e. weight wienies, trade chromoly/aluminum alloy or steel pedals for magnesium, titanium, or carbon pedals to save a few ounces/grams and probably wouldn't want the extra weight of a badge.

chickelit said...

This process required a copper, zinc or steel plate (among other metals) to be covered with wax that is resistant to acid.

Paraffin wax got its name from parum (very little) + affinis (affinity).

"Affinity" is just an archaic term for chemical reactivity.

Quaestor said...

I notice one badge denotes a bike called a Titanic and portrays a steamship plowing the sea. I wonder how long the manufacturer kept that name.

jimbino said...

You can find the same things sold as "wanderstockschilder" on German websites and eBay.