Author Topic: Commencement of Decals on Bikes  (Read 463 times)

Offline Jeffrob

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Commencement of Decals on Bikes
« on: October 31, 2021, 01:20:45 AM »
Hi just a general query - can anyone advise when it became standard practice (ie what year ?) to use decals (vinyl stickers ?) on motorcycle tanks for various models to identify the make / brand rather than painting the logo on or using badges.  I understand use of stick on decals is more recent.  Thanks

Offline cardan

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Re: Commencement of Decals on Bikes
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2021, 06:40:05 AM »
Interesting question.

The use of transfers came to motorcycles from the cycle trade, where they were used from the earliest days - I assume before the 1890s. I'm not sure of the original technology, but they transfers were extremely thin and were transferred from their paper backing techniques using spirit/solvent or by sliding them off in water. As you say, vinyl transfers are a computer age thing - originally they were pretty thick and ugly, but they are getting better.

Manufacturer's didn't make the transfers themselves, but instead bought them from specialist suppliers who had large sample books of "stock" transfers to choose from: for example you could choose a shield or a scroll and have you brand name added.

Believe it or not, some smaller manufacturers bought the transfers unfinished, and added their name in by hand. The attached image is from a Cattermole motorcycle made in Adelaide.

For larger numbers, your transfers would be custom designed and made.

Of course some makers painted their name on the tank, but if you were making more than a few bikes it would be worth investing in transfers. Attached is the very rusty tank of my Victor Blackburne, also from Adelaide, where the name was painted on. Only a handful were made, and the firm was big enough to have a resident sign writer whose primary job would have been stiping bicycles.

Some states in Australia were far away from the world, so the paintbrush was probably used more out here. There is a surviving book of transfer samples in the UK that contains transfers for a range of Australian makers!

Cheers

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Commencement of Decals on Bikes
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2021, 06:55:56 AM »
Here's an advert for transfers from Motor Cycling, 26 November 1902.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Commencement of Decals on Bikes
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2021, 08:27:55 AM »
And transfer technology, 1898:

The Cycle Age and Trade Review
Chicago
10 February 1898

SAFE RULES FOR FIXING TRANSFERS.
The Meyercord Co., of Chicago, have published a new revised catalogue showing the transfers made and kept in stock by this American establishment for the manufacture of Decalcomania transfers. The company makes it a rule never to turn down any order from responsible persons, no matter how small, and have found that hundreds of dealers and repairmen are glad to avail themselves of this chance to obtain original and tasteful ornamentation for the cycle goods which they handle or make. The proper handling of a transfer is a very plain and simple process, yet somehow the slightest deviation from the proper method will spoil the ornament, says the company, and states the chief requisites to the successful handling of a transfer ornament as follows: 1. A good transfer. 2. A proper sizing for transfering and a proper varnish for covering. 3. The proper degree of baking, if the article upon which the transfer is placed is to be baked. The simplest method of handling a transfer in its application as an ornament or name plate is as follows: Coat either the transfer or the article with a thin coat of quick drying tacky sizing. This sizing should be the very finest varnish, and should be very thin and flow readily. Mix with the varnish
as much turpentine as is necessary to secure this result. Be sure to get as thin as possible a coat of sizing on the transfer or the article. You need not be afraid of getting over the edge of the transfer with the varnish; be sure, however, not to get any spots of varnish on the back of the transfer. Place the transfer on the article and rub it so that the varnish will stick properly wherever there is any coloring. It is customary to take a slightly dampónot wetósponge when rubbing, so as to make the paper pliable, and thereby make the transfer more liable to hold on all spots and places. Before applying the transfer the varnish must be tacky. If the transfer sticks to the finger so as to be readily lifted up it is in a fit condition to apply. After having rubbed the transfer thoroughly, take a soaked sponge (with warm water) and rub again lightly, be very careful in rubbing this time, that the transfer does not slip. Should any varnish accidently have gotten on the back of the paper, covering the transfer, peel it off by placing a little water on the paper and rubbing. This will peel off that spot of varnish very easily, and then simply soak that spot with water. Lift or peel off the paper, after the water is thoroughly soaked through, take a soft sponge soaked in water and clean off the fuzz and chemicals from off the transfer and around it. This will still leave the varnish all around the edges of the transfer. To cut that away, take a little gasoline, turpentine or benzine mixed with a little water, dampen a piece of cotton or soft sponge with either of these mixtures and again clean over the transfer; immediately after, go over with water, so as to prevent the cutting fluid eating away any of the transfer. After this you have a clean and neat appearing transfer free from all varnish, fuzz and dirt. Always use warm water. After the transfer is applied and thoroughly cleaned as above described, give it a coating of varnish to protect the surface of the transfer from rubbing or scratching. If the transfer is on enameled surface it is necessary to bake it. An important point to consider is that all transfers when just completed or when fresh are delicate, and the colors at times may not be thoroughly dry, in which event they naturally will be effected by the cleaning substance. For those who have much transfer work to do it is recommended to use a paper hanger's rubber seaming roller.

Offline Jeffrob

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Re: Commencement of Decals on Bikes
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2021, 09:45:16 AM »
Thanks everyone - thatís very informative.  I didnít realise they were used from the earliest days and always thought early bikes (say pre 1930-s) had logos painted.  Thanks for responses. 

Offline iansoady

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Re: Commencement of Decals on Bikes
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2021, 11:59:15 AM »
You did mention vinyl which is a very recent development. Gold size and later waterslide transfers have been used for many years as described.
Ian
1952 Norton ES2
2008 Yamaha X-Max 250

Offline cardan

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Re: Commencement of Decals on Bikes
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2021, 09:40:37 AM »
Interesting that Iliffe & Sons Ltd, publishers of The Motor Cycle, had a Transfer Department, who advertised in the Motor Cycle. Here's their effort from 15 April 1903. "Forward wording, and we will send you a design free, with quotation..."

Leon

Offline R

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Re: Commencement of Decals on Bikes
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2021, 09:46:47 AM »
There is a surviving book of transfer samples in the UK that contains transfers for a range of Australian makers!

Now that would be interesting to see some details of.
Perhaps in a book on aussie made motorcycles, perchance ?

Offline cardan

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Re: Commencement of Decals on Bikes
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2021, 10:19:26 AM »
The transfers for the Invincible JAP - about 600 were built from 1922 - are in a book of transfers in the UK. The tank transfer in particular is large and impressive. The photo shows one on a very original survivor.

The book is coming (so is Christmas) - finishing the Ps.

Leon

Offline 33d6

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Re: Commencement of Decals on Bikes
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2021, 01:15:05 PM »
I collect the remaining AOMC microfilm cassettes for digitisation (and thus easy reading) on Wednesday. Hopefully a few weeks will see much Victorian info readily available. Donít rush past the Pís.

Offline R

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Re: Commencement of Decals on Bikes
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2021, 07:58:14 PM »
The tank transfer in particular is large and impressive. The photo shows one on a very original survivor.

Not to hijack this thread, but Is anyone making these ?

Offline cardan

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Re: Commencement of Decals on Bikes
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2021, 10:33:59 PM »
33d6: Fabulous - I'm very interested to see what kind of data can be "mined". I have two Victorian rego lists - one from 1912 and the other from late 1914 - and now I am used to using them I manage to find out all kinds of things. Like the difference between W. E. Peverill (reg number 2472 who was in Maryborough in 1912 and Cohuna in 1915), and policeman Carter J. Perverill (reg number 1519 in Carlton in 1912), who have become confused over time. W. E. Peverill rode his Fafnir from Melbourne to Brisbane and back in early 1912, then set an Australian 24 Hours record in June 1912 on a pre-production Peerless fro A. G. Healing. W. E. was not a policeman, as often reported.

R: I rode my Invincible JAP with no transfers for 15 years because they weren't available back then (19180-1995), but since I parted with it several Invincibles have been restored with transfers, but I don't know who made them.

Speaking of P is for Peerless and transfers, here's another fine example of the transfer-maker's art. This one was used on the Peerless Precision twins from 1915, and given that the mountain looks decided un-Australian it might be another foreign-made job. The text says "PEERLESS Built for Australian roads"

Leon