JC Higgins

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Got some JC Higgins cruisers.
Can someone give me a little more info on these bad boys
 

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JC Higgins was one of Sears brand names along with Free Spirit, FS Elite, Ted Williams and Sears. Used from 1908 to about 1961. Sears never made anything but money. They did not have factories. Their products were obtained from manufacturers. On some of the bicycles, the first 3 digits correspond to supplier. There are many lists of suppliers on the www. None are complete and many tend to focus on certain types of products. Some of the bike manufacturer codes are in the 500 range (502, 503, 507). Murray, Huffy and Styer of Austria were some of the big suppliers. Some Murray made bikes start with MO (murray of Ohio). Some of the bikes also had the catalog number as part of the serial number. Usually 5 digits for that. Their serial number formats are all over the place depending on supplier, years and models. John Higgins was an actual employee of Sears. Name replaced with the baseball star and war pilot Ted Williams starting in 1961, an early celebrity endorsement for products.

Sears had many of their own brand names. Craftsman is famous but all those tools were outsourced. Appliances, guns, clothing, sporting equipment, camping gear, and so on were all made specifically by mostly obscure companies for Sears to sell. Many other big retailers did the same.

One story I learned long ago was how they processed cash and checks. Each store would put all the days sales in a canvas bag and weigh it. They would wire the weight to the headquarters in Chicago and ship the bags by train. The company had such a long history of accounting, they could tell pretty closely how much money was in each bag from each store for each day of the year. The hq in Chicago would have tellers count the money and credit each store. Seems it was more efficient and ahem, honest, to have all the counting done in 1 location. This was done long before computers.

Many of the Sears and other department store catalogs have been scanned and put on line. Wishbook is the www keyword. Now at 317 catalogs. some over 1000 pages. text searchable.

currently at https://christmas.musetechnical.com/

this is just 1 of many pages for bicycles
https://christmas.musetechnical.com/ShowCatalogPage/1957-Sears-Spring-Summer-Catalog/1007
 
To add to what rickpaulos said, your JC Higgins bikes are both made by Murray. Sears bikes were Elgins until WW2 ended in 45, then they were branded JC Higgins until 1963 when the bikes then carried the Sears brand name. So, your two bikes are most probably 1950's bikes. The tanks on them are great. The one with the beehive springer looks mostly original while the other has some newer parts, but that's good. They both look like they are ready to ride.
 
Check the bottom brackets for numbers. It may be possible to get the year from them. If not there, the left rear dropout may have numbers. Sears sometimes added the catalog number at the end.
 
The bike with the jeweed tank is a 1950s Colorflow.

The one with the red tank is one of the flavors of the "header" tank 1950s models they had. There top model was the one that had had plastic "headers" attached to the side of the tank. Yours is the model that has the cool header pipes as a graphic on the tank. Some of the pics look like your header bike is a little smaller than your Colorflow. Does it have 24" wheels or is it just an optical illusion of the camera angles?
 
I believe the springer is a mid '50s Jetflow , I have heard the other referred to as A Header bike also mid to late '50s

Jetflow was a different tank and frame. His jeweled tank bike is a Colorflow.

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Colorflow is a 1950 on the nose if the rack is original, and I don't see any reason it wouldn't be. They only used the Higgins medallions on the rack for one year.

Robin
 

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