‘55 Wards Hawthorne Flat Bar

Nov 22, 2011
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Found this somewhat old Montgomery Wards Hawthorne Bike on a short road trip today. I had assumed post 1960 AMF style frame. Seems to be a complete bike that has spent a little too much time outdoors. Front wheel missing one spoke, slight backwards bend in fork. Chrome in pretty good shape except rims. Might make a good klunker style bike or parts bike. Bendix rear hub. I think the repop Roadmaster tanks fit.



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Jul 30, 2013
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I suspect it dates a bit earlier than you think...probably mid-1950s. You're a knowledgeable guy, so I'll spare you the history lesson. Let's just say the CWC frame, swirl chainring, expansion seatpost, & Faulhaber saddle give me...reasons.

Bendix may not be original. I think most came equipped with NDs.
 
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Nov 22, 2011
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I suspect it dates a bit earlier than you think...probably mid-1950s. You're a knowledgeable guy, so I'll spare you the history lesson. Let's just say the CWC frame, swirl chainring, expansion seatpost, & Faulhaber saddle give me...reasons.

Bendix may not be original. I think most came equipped with NDs.
I looked through my Montgomery Ward Hawthorne catalog reprints which go through 1960. The straight bar frames don’t show up, only double curved or cantilever frames.


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Jan 21, 2009
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Another cool AMF CWC frame I've never seen before! In 56 or 57 they went to those dropouts, but I've never seen a pre cantilever frame with those dropouts, so I'm guessing 56 or 57. Straight forks too! Serial number on the BB I'll bet. Rims match in style so Maybe the Bendix came with it.
 
Jul 30, 2013
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I'm pretty sure a '60s Hawthorne would have worn this badge, rather than the crest that yours has. Also, the fact that it isn't a skip-tooth has me thinking that it's a "second-half-of the-'50s" bike. Wildcat and I are firmly in the same camp.

 
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Nov 22, 2011
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I spoke too soon, I have seen that frame, like this 57 model.

These deluxe models show up in my catalog but the basic model like the one I drug home doesn’t. I suppose it was a cheaper model then that didn’t get advertised as much. I have another rat bike with the same frame.



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Nov 22, 2011
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Well, there you go...55Cw is the date code. Geez, I get tired of bein' right! :p
Good job man! So it’s a Cleveland Welding frame. So did AMF take over CW production?
I need to look at my other bike like this, don’t think I ever looked at it’s number.
 
Jul 30, 2013
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Oh yes! AMF absorbed CWC in or about 1950 and subsequently bought Shelby Cycles in 1953. Bicycle production was consolidated in Cleveland which, unfortunately, became a hotbed of post-war labor disputes. Rather than cave to a lot of union demands, AMF built their new wheel goods division in Little Rock and shuttered the Cleveland operation by 1955. It's a toss-up as to whether your bike is one of the last Cleveland frames or one of the first from Arkansas--the design continued unchanged for a while.

I've seen Shelbys of the same vintage that are identical to your Hawthorne, other than the badge they wear.
 
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Nov 22, 2011
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Oh yes! AMF absorbed CWC in or about 1950 and subsequently bought Shelby Cycles in 1953. Bicycle production was consolidated in Cleveland which, unfortunately, became a hotbed of post-war labor disputes. Rather than cave to a lot of union demands, AMF built their new wheel goods division in Little Rock and shuttered the Cleveland operation by 1955. It's a toss-up as to whether your bike is one of the last Cleveland frames or one of the first from Arkansas--the design continued unchanged for a while.

I've seen Shelbys of the same vintage that are identical to your Hawthorne, other than the badge they wear.
Thanks for the info. That explains why someone told me I had a Shelby frame with the rat bike I posted up a few posts in this thread. All starting to be clear now.


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Feb 11, 2009
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Another cool AMF CWC frame I've never seen before! In 56 or 57 they went to those dropouts, but I've never seen a pre cantilever frame with those dropouts, so I'm guessing 56 or 57. Straight forks too! Serial number on the BB I'll bet. Rims match in style so Maybe the Bendix came with it.

I've always believed that a "Cantilever " frame was a frame where the rear seat stay tubes continued from the rear all the way passed the seat tube to the front lower tube as 9n this Schwinn pictured.

20180526_125539.jpg
 
Jan 21, 2009
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When the patent ran out, then everyone else could make them that way, and they did, Murray and AMF. All the other AMF frames I've ever seen were cantilever.
 
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The Bendix coaster brake hub does not have a red band so it may be the design of Edwin Elliott Hood from 1944-46 used until 1960 or so. Those may have had threaded sprockets, and on earlier ones, a lubrication port with cover. About 1964 they introduced the 3-tab sprockets, with the Red Band II brake.
 
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