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WW1 U.S.A. stamped vehicle equipment


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Hi All,

I have some questions relating to the marking of US transport equipment during WW1.

One of the noticable features of the Liberty Truck is the U.S.A. on the radiator tank. 

1069677938_DetailCantigny_Park_Liberty_Truck_2018.jpg.63eec0242a96287ae98a7921350187b0.jpg

I understand that other smaller parts were also occasionally marked U.S.A., such as this horn:, and, I understand the Adlake lights (I could not find an example of this).

1686579152_Detaile-a-horn-3.jpg.2ae68a1689671991130437826c66e8bf.jpg 

Both above images from https://libertytruck.org/

Does anyone know when it became necessary for manufacturers to mark parts in this way? I'm guessing 1918?

Since GI equipment was normally marked U.S. only, why mark them U.S.A., and not U.S.?

These questions relate to the restoration and research I'm doing on my 1917 US Army Columbia bicycle. These bicycles were originally fitted with 'Neverout' Keresine lamps:

265171180_PosterColumbia1.thumb.jpg.b374cb23d3152bbf4980e7e14737578c.jpg

1374771349_PosterColumbia1detail.jpg.649a40b7779edb99377cf205aca8360a.jpg

Whilst searching for the correct lamp, I found that the markings on the lamps had gone through an evolution.

Columbia bicycle production started in October 1917, and seems to have gone through three contracts, the first two for 10000 bicycles each, and the last one incomplete by war end.

Initial production was very rapid (the QM gave 3 days to quote for the contract, and 30 days to start deliveries), so at the start a lot of parts were off the shelf. Early Neverout lamps are the standard brass model, painted green.

In November 1917 there was some discussion about the production of a standardised 'Liberty' bicycle, with several manufacturers (sound familiar?). During this discussion, the marking of the bike as U.S.A. equipment was raised, which implies that it was not the case before that point.

It seems  it became necessary to mark equipment U.S.A. at some point since I have a second lamp handstamped at the factory in an accessible area. Finally, the stamping tools for the lamp were adapted to stamp USA on the front of the lamp.

2133440452_NeveroutNoUSAstamp.thumb.jpg.fbde7915778b61933b78296b1de110d4.jpg

Type with no USA stamp

s-l1600ca.thumb.jpg.51998fce14d1e30202b8291605b0a92d.jpg

s-l1600aa.thumb.jpg.14c28b5fce5412c45b161f7b8e9cac17.jpg

Type with USA handstamped at the factory (incidenatlly, this type with the added bail is not for a bicycle, does anyone know what other vehicles used Neverout lamps?)

345096843_NeveroutbottomUSAstamp.thumb.jpg.107c1aa1cab9f540fbfba75f4d8a0ff6.jpg

Type with U.S.A. stamped during manufacture.

This move to marking the equipment U.S.A. can also be seen on the bicycle badges. Late ones have a supplementary U.S.A. stamp on the bicycle badge, early ones do not.

005A.jpg.e8e05287f5a2952df7d144c3ae8deb59.jpg

Early bicycle headbadge

DSC07822A.jpg.cb6f1f3600d8acecbd0fad08fee37dd0.jpg

Later badge, the same stamping, but with an extra U.S.A. stamped above the end of the word Columbia.

I hope that someone can help with my questions. and that even if you can't, this was of some interest,

Thanks,

Best Regards,

Adrian

 

s-l1600cb.jpg

Edited by Le Prof
Poor proof reading...
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Hi Prof,

Here's my twopenneth, the'U.S' mark would have been recognised as meaning 'Unservicable' in the British army. This may well have been a source of amusement to the troops in the Front Line who were already 3 years  into the War when the Yanks turned up !!!  .............Just a thought 😁

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On 12/20/2019 at 7:06 PM, Tomo.T said:

Hi Prof,

Here's my twopenneth, the'U.S' mark would have been recognised as meaning 'Unservicable' in the British army. This may well have been a source of amusement to the troops in the Front Line who were already 3 years  into the War when the Yanks turned up !!!  .............Just a thought 😁

Hi, Tommo,

A long time ago, I had this experience at Upper  Heford USAF base. We were visiting, but the bus we were travelling on broke down, so we were late. 

Explaining this to our American host, our RAF boss said "Sorry we're late, the bus went US". There was  blank incomprehension from our American. He later explained how he was trying to figure "how we got the coach stateside" .

Best Regards,

Adrian

 

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8 minutes ago, Le Prof said:

Hi, Tommo,

A long time ago, I had this experience at Upper  Heford USAF base. We were visiting, but the bus we were travelling on broke down, so we were late. 

Explaining this to our American host, our RAF boss said "Sorry we're late, the bus went US". There was  blank incomprehension from our American. He later explained how he was trying to figure "how we got the coach stateside" .

Best Regards,

Adrian

 

Very much enjoyed that one! Happy Christmas!

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Hi Mike,

Thanks for the photos of the Adlake lamps. I could find dozens of different types of them, but nothing showing the tops like that.

Of the near 30000 of these bikes made, I have traced fewer than ten survivors, which makes research a little difficult at times. 

1983142313_USA695201.jpg.20c6506422b0eb0e7f8cb607e8d012bf.jpg

1447006931_USA695202.jpg.afbf2f4cb975b52916d903d6a3a5f362.jpg

Some have no serial numbers stamped under the pedal crank, some, like the one above belonging to Bozman have a USA serial number handstamped, and some have a Columbia J series number denoting 1918. Of the USA series numbers, I have not yet seen one above 10,000, so I am wondering if these were for one of the three contracts.

In case it's of interest, here's some further detail about mine.

I'm still collecting parts, since the photos were taken, I obtained the correct pedals and luggge carrier, with the help of friends in the US.

Best Regards,

Adrian

 

Edited by Le Prof
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  • 9 months later...

Hi All,

Just to add to the topic a little.

One of these Military Pattern bikes was recently re-exported for France via the UK back to the USA. This bicycle has a so far unique USA marked saddle. These saddles were undoubtedly military issue, but probably only appreared on the second batch of these bicycles built in 1918.

The earlier bicycles had civilian made saddles, Troxel N°1 Motobike were specified. These are  of similar or the same design, but have Troxel stamped into the leather rather than USA.

Pictures and research by New Mexico Brant.

C739C203-E131-4AED-90F5-5DF5C6DC942A.jpeg

FCCE27E3-4643-4861-86FF-7BD24511502A.jpeg

It was found a few years ago in a northern French countryside attic. It reportedly was used to transport American soldiers to work in a sawmill used to produce lumber for trenchworks.

Screen Shot 2020-09-30 at 8.33.36 PM.png

Further history (and an FWD truck and trailer picture) here.

https://foresthistory.org/digital-collections/world-war-10th-20th-forestry-engineers/

Best Regards,

Adrian

Edited by Le Prof
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