Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another Columbia

As I understand things, my branch of the Ellsworth family has been in New England since the mid-1600's, starting with a land grant of a tract of farmland outside of Hartford. A lot of family history has unfolded for the Ellsworths outside of Hartford in the past 350 years, as you might expect.

A chapter of that history came to a close last weekend, with an auction. My great aunt will be the last Ellsworth to live in the farmhouse that has been at the center of the past couple of hundred years' worth of our family. Much of the land had already been sold off to pay for the care of her brother, before he died, and last weekend, much of the home's furnishings were sold at auction in a precursor to the sale of the property itself. This to pay for her own elderly care.

My younger sister went down to the auction, and called me excitedly about a Columbia that was for bid. She apparently went to town buying stuff, and filled Michael's truck with stuff of questionable value, sentimental or otherwise. My dad ended up having to haul the bike back my way. It was waiting for me tonight on the porch.

It's a mixte/ladies'-framed Columbia Speedliner from the mid-1950's, according to an ad I found:

It has a 2-speed Bendix rear hub shifted by what looks like a brake lever, rather than the kick-back two-speed Bendix hubs that some Schwinns used to have. This allows it to retain "positive foot braking". It should coast beatifully, according to the ad. And only 40 lbs!

It is complete with fenders, chainguard, a rear rack, and a dilapidated wooden child seat. The saddle has a crash rail on it, and it has a kickstand that looks like it'd work in my frame -- ah-ha! To that point, the frame is actually very similar to my Columbia in design, but lacking the second top tube (and in a mixte style, of course). Same wishbone seat and chain stays, and probably the same of most everything else. But I don't think it's retained any of its original paint, and very little of its chrome. It is probably a total loss, honestly. But it was won for a buck, so at least it was priced right.

I'll post a picture later. For now, it's taking up space in my barn, continuing its slow journey back to the iron ore from whence it sprang. I need to figure out what to do with it, at some point.

All for now,


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