SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

All Nite: 1941

All Nite: 1941

July 1941. "Street scene in Chicago Black Belt." Old-school fixie. 35mm negative by Edwin Rosskam for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Half-tooth sprocket an unusual feature I have not seen before. See a modern version here.

Maybe not always Sears

At least by the mid-1930s Elgin was a Sears brand, and became "J. C. Higgins" sometime after WW II. Elgin-labelled bikes were manufactured by Columbia Westfield Mfg, and I've read that there was at least one other builder for Sears.

I have seen hints, but no clear proof, that there was an Elgin bicycle company in the 1920s. Could it be that there was a well known Elgin company that died in the Depression and Sears bought the name and had them manufactured elsewhere?

Shell Oil

I think the shell is a license plate tag given out by Shell Oil.

That's an Elgin Bicycle

That is an Elgin bicycle. I learned to ride on an identical bike, circa 1965. It was a hand-me-down. The sea shell ornaments were not present on mine, although I did have a chain guard. Mine was a redish maroon and cream color scheme.

The saddle bags resemble World War ONE surplus musette bags.

I believe that Elgin was a Sears & Roebuck brand name. I have no idea who actually made them for Sears, but it had some resemblence to an Iver Johnson bike I once saw.

The two curved bars going from the base of the steering knuckle down to the sides of the front fork were purely decorative.

All-in-all, it was a VERY heavy bicycle, not ideal for a boy learning to ride. On the flip side, the seat was very comfortable.

There was decorative paint on the fenders, maroon & cream stripes and small stars. Perhaps this would become visible if the photo were enhanced.

Not Only, But Also

We're left to guess exactly what is hot all night, but the young man's air of quiet alertness and the saddle bags on the bike suggest that delivery is available.

A Tough Pair

That bike is a classic. It looks like it had almost as hard a life as its owner, but both are still looking solid and able to take on whatever task needed for survival in hard times. Check out the sea shell ornamental castings on the front spindle!

The winds of war are blowing in the distance, though. I wonder if either the young man or his bike survived the draft and metal drives of WWII?

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.