|1896 IVER JOHNSON
MODEL C "FITCHBURG" LADIES ROADSTER
This bike was rescued from a barn in Branford, CT where it sat with little notice, for decades. Although in somewhat rough
condition, it is an absolutely complete and original survivor that somehow managed to live on, against all odds, to tell its story. It is
amazing that it was not simply scrapped, thrown out, or donated for its metal content when the government was desperately seeking
metal for its war efforts.
This is a quite rare example of an 1896 Iver Johnson “Fitchburg” Ladies Roadster. 1896 was the first year that the company
manufactured bicycles that would carry their own name. From 1885 to 1895, the Iver Johnson Company made bikes exclusively for the
John P. Lovell Sporting Goods Company in Boston, MA. Its crudely manufactured badge suggests that perhaps there was not
sufficient time to locate a vendor that might design and create the more elaborate and artistic badges that would be used the very
next year. Chances are good that these early badges were produced in house using available craftsmen. This cycle was among the
very first to be built at the Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works to roll off the assembly line that would carry the “Fitchburg”
nameplate. Three different models of “Fitchburg” cycles were offered in 1896, a Model A, “Men’s Light Roadster”, a Model B, “Men’s
Full Roadster”, and a Model C, “Ladies Roadster”.
This is an 1896 Ladies Iver Johnson Model "C", safety roadster having the early serial # 32174 stamped under the bottom bracket.
The bike is painted in Iver Johnson black, and still retains most all of its original paint. This 23" Ladies roadster is resting on its
original set of 28" wood wheels with a matching set of turn of the century barrel style hubs having a 36 spoke rear, and 32 spoke
front. This cycle still retains its original Iver Johnson TOC pedals, handlebars with cork grips, "scrub" brake, Hunt ladies saddle
frame, chainguard, block chain, and coaster pegs.
It is interesting to note that the Iver Johnson company imported 1 1/8" weldless steel tubing direct from England for these
roadsters while using all flush joints and drop forged connections in their construction. Considering this cycle is well over 100 years
old, has long passed its usefulness, and has slipped through untold numbers of hands, it remains a well preserved original paint
example of an early TOC Iver Johnson ladies roadster.
( Click Pics to Enlarge)
|This is an NOS
example of the
badge used on the
1896 Iver Johnson
were offered in
|A Model "A", Men’s
Light Roadster, a
Model "B", Men’s
Full Roadster, and
a Model "C",
Featured on this
page is the Model