We were pleased to hear from a customer about renovating a rare 1951 Super Bi Laminated Mercian, a frame that no one here at the workshop had ever seen in the flesh (and we’ve got a total of over 130 Mercian years between us all).
Bi-laminated lugs are created by the frame builders, the frame is fillet brazed with sleeves over the joining tubes made to look like lugs. After the war when there were shortages of lugs, we used bi-laminates to build fancy lugged frames. We still use bi-laminated lugs on frames where the lugs are not available to buy – eg for Miss Mercian and tandem frames.
We’ve recently been updating and adding to the history section on our website and have uploaded a few extra old catalogues that have been kindly shared by our customers and collectors for your information. One of those was a 1950 Catalogue that included the Super Bi-Laminated frame (this option doesn’t appear in any later catalogue).
The frame is listed in the 1950 catalogue as:
“The frame for the connoiseur, bi-laminated on all lugs with 3″ extensions under all tubes, built to customers own specification. All chrome forks and rear ends chromed to mudguard bridges. Finished in any colour enamel or lustre. Lugs lined and Double Box Lined.”
With the “standard welded frames” in 1950 priced from £9.5.0 (Nine pounds, 5 shillings and 0 pence), standard lug frames at £13.0.0 (thirteen pounds), the Super Bi-laminated frame was prices at £19.19.0 (Nineteen pounds, 19 shillings), this is probably why they are a rare beast.
We know of one in the USA, shown here on the Classic Rendezvous website http://www.classicrendezvous.com/British_isles/Mercian/J-Crump_Mercian.htm
The 1951 frame we have here has been repainted some time with more up to date transfers, once the paint was off we could see some not-so-pretty repairs have been done in the past, some dings and knocks, but it’s nearly 70 years old and looks great for it’s age! There was a bit of pitting on some of the tubes, but not too much – which makes us think this frame never had chrome.
So with a bit of fettling from the frame builders, a few dents and pitting filled, the sprayshop are getting on with the restoration, which will be with the newly available period transfers.
We will post more pictures to the blog of the finished renovation, but thought you’d like to see it while we have it in the workshop.
Nice eh? (I wonder if the customer might let me keep this one 🙂 Jane)