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Deco Pair: Hawthorne Duralium Bicycles

As the holidays quickly approach, many of us seek to find something special to give to our significant other, or to our children. Christmas is always a great reason to get a “new” bike, and if you are looking for a way to get your spouse involved with something cool, or if you are looking to get a couple of sweet rides for your kids, then look no further than these Deco era Aluminum frame Hawthorne bicycles. A matching pair and in nice condition, these bikes would guarantee you and your spouse would be the coolest “kids” at the coming swap meets this year. These aluminum frame bikes have been going up in value, so the $1,350 asking price seems reasonable for this pair. Check them out here on ebay out of Bend, Oregon.

Typically known as the Hawthorne Duralium bikes, these beauties were sold by Montgomery Wards during the mid to late 1930’s. Born in the Art Deco era, there are some elegant features that certainly represent the time frame, like the frame shape on each bike as well as each head light. While aluminum bikes became popular in the 1930’s, these bikes were not the first aluminum frame bikes as the title for the first Aluminum frame bike lies with the “Lu-mi-num” brand bicycle of the mid 1890’s. World War II would be sure to put a halt to aluminum frame bikes as “precious” metals such as aluminum was needed for the war effort. With that being said, there were a few different aluminum bikes from the 30’s era, but they were produced for a short time making them less common than their plain steel counterparts.

While uncommon, these bikes are often found restored, or even “hot rod’d” as many have discovered that the aluminum frames polish up wonderfully offering a mirror like finish. Thankfully both of these bikes look solid and original as it is common place that cracked bikes show up and they are difficult, to near impossible, to repair. Several of the frame bars are extruded aluminum tube, but many of the frame’s components are sand cast, and are prone to cracking under heavy abuse. Thankfully it would seem that both of these bikes were treated well in their lifetime. Both bikes use modern tires, and appear complete minus a missing chain guard, and the woven skirt guard on the ladies bike. If you have a classic wagon with a naked roof, buy these two beauties to really make it stand out. Would you buy these bikes for your kids, or are they too sweet where you and your spouse would need them?

Comments

  1. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Whoa! Nice find, Brian. Have you ever had a similar bike in your collection?

    • Brian Birkner Staff

      I have yet to own an early aluminum bike due to their cost and obscurity. But maybe someday soon.

  2. Coventrycat

    Even made of aluminum, they weigh a lot more than you think. I agree that the picture of them on top of a cool 40’s or 50’s wagon would be perfect – a more realistic picture is regular visits to a chiropractor after attempting to hoist a couple of 50 pound bikes over your head.

    • Brian Birkner Staff

      They are actually quite heavy as you say. It is amazing that they weigh so much considering they are aluminum. Think of the quantity of materials used to make up on of these machines! Whew thats a lot of metal in a bicycle!

  3. John p

    If I’m not mistaken–these are only 24″ models rather than 26″ bikes… No mention of the wheel sizes is stated in the listing.. Not nearly as desirable if 24’s..

  4. Dave

    This model was only offered for sale in 24in wheels and ballon tires.
    26in will not have clearance with stock tight fit fenders with ballon tires. Tried it!

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