1918 WW1 Columbia Military Model (US Army Issue Green)

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SOUND TO THE CORE: Government engineers officially approved the Columbia Military Model for use in the World War. It is significant of the sturdiness of construction and utter trustworthiness of this model that it was selected as the Standard Bicycle for the United States Army. Completely equipped, finished in distinctive military drab, being of double bar construction and seamless tubes throughout and sound to the core, it is one of the best-value products ever produced by Westfield.

– 1919 Columbia Sales Brochure

1918 WW1 Columbia Military Model

U.S Army Issue

Columbia capitalized on their military production during the war and, for several years after 1918, civilian versions of the Military Model featured in their catalogues.
This example is one of the original military bicycles that were sent to France during WW1, which is where I found it, having been stored for many years.

Interesting features are the leather ‘destination’ label on the frame, the USA (United States Army) saddle, USA serial number under the bottom bracket, and a Morrow coaster hub. I have sprayed it with anti-corrosive to bring out the original paint. The front wheel was missing when I bought it, so I’ve installed a wooden one for now. The photos below illustrate its remarkable original, though rusty, condition. I’ll leave it absolutely unrestored, just to annoy all the amateur engineers and military buffs around the world who can’t resist destroying original bicycles by turning them into their particular version of ‘restored.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEATHER ‘DESTINATION’ LABEL

 

 

 

INFLATOR PUMP HOLDER

 

‘USA’ SERIAL NUMBER on BOTTOM BRACKET

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNITED STATES ARMY (USA) SADDLE

 

 

 

 

 

 

MORROW COASTER HUB

manufactured by

ECLIPSE MACHINE CO  

 

 

 

Before coaster hubs were invented (they came onto the market in 1897/1898), Eclipse Bicycle Co of Elmira, NY, manufactured bicycles. The advert below is from 1896.

 

 

The advert below is from BOY’S LIFE: The Boy Scouts Magazine, March, 1918.