Chrome or Brass fender badges?

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FelthamW
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1990 bastid wild child
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Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#1

Post by FelthamW » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:25 pm

I need some help. There are 123 registered 1955 OHV bikes on this site and I would like to know who has what on thier front fender. I am trying to make some sense out of this. If you are uncomfortable posting here, please PM me.

I personally have no pictures of any bike that has anything but a chrome fender badge. I have a lot because I collect any '55 pic for my personal library. Even one of the Desert Dog panheads has a chrome badge.

I personally have never seen a brass badge on a bike. But low and behold there is a picture of a unmounted badge on this site! Look at Panhead and Flathead Info page, Info per year and click on 1955.

Mr Palmer's book states "these (badges) were provided only on the FLH, FL and KH models". He shows a picture of each but is tough to tell whether they are polished brass or chromed.

The 1955 factory order blank (from Chris Haines' site) shows that the badge is included in the Deluxe Solo Group. The Deluxe Solo Group is a collection of "brightwork" parts ie: polished, stainless or chromed. The wording leads me to believe that the Deluxe Solo Group got you a upgrade to a chrome badge - seeing as Palmer says it was already provided.

I am hoping that some of you can shed some light on this.

Do you have a chrome badge that you know to be original? Does your bike have the Deluxe Solo Group package?

How about a original chrome badge without the Deluxe Solo Group?

Anybody got a brass badge and have the Deluxe Solo Group? (That will throw my theory out the window...)

The reason I am adamant to get to the bottom of this is that I got dinged for it at Eustis. I do not want to strip it to find out that it was proper afterall.

Thanks,
Wayne



panhead
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Re: Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#2

Post by panhead » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:37 pm

Here's another topic about 1955 badges: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=5053

RUBONE
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Re: Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#3

Post by RUBONE » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:07 am

Sorry FelthamW, but your theory is wrong. All the original equipment '55 badges were flash chromed on a stamped brass badge. Most original badges have lost most of their chrome. There is no such thing as a chrome upgrade on the badge. The '54 badges were a gold flash which also is lost on most originals. The badge on my '55 KHK (three owner) is brass on the outside but still has the chrome on the inside. My '54 FLE badge is brass but has a hint of the gold. i also have a near NOS (Dealer take-off) with beautiful gold on it. I also collect literature and every picture I have of a new '55 confirms the chrome on the badges. And Palmer is not entirely correct as all KHKs had a badge saying KH, and FLEs have badges saying FL. And if you got dinged for a chrome one the judges are wrong!
I had to edit this and add something, the badges are NOT show chrome, merely a chrome flash not unlike a trophy top or the like!
Robbie

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Re: Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#4

Post by john HD » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:45 am

wayne

robbie has it right once again. the brass one you are describing may be the repro one i have for sale under "john's garage sale" in the classified section. it is a lost wax cast one. very heavy compared to the originals or the accurate repros that seem to be everywhere now.

all of the emblems on original bikes i have seen have had some trace of chrome plating on them. the better looking ones have almost a frosty appearance to them. kinda like old nickle plating.

i do not know if they were really shiney when they were new or not. i have seen one new nos still in the box emblem and it did not look to have a mirror finish. (i looked away rapidly due to the asking price, i was afraid i might turn to stone! :D )

anyway, here is a shot of the front fender on one the original desert bikes. judge for yourself...

john
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old1955
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Location: Northern Rivers NSW, Australia

Re: Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#5

Post by old1955 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:41 am

G'day Wayne,

I got my own ideas here. See the shot of my badge it is a original badge, keep in mind
that my 55 is an FLE and has a FLH badge, so there has been a fiddle somewhere along
the line.

if you look carefully down the sides and in the base area of the script and the 1955 you see
remnants of silver stuff, Robbie says chrome and Robbie from what I read is on the ball.

Flash chrome? I don't think I know what that is?

But I beg to differ, what I observe is a very thin, flat (as in luster) coating of nickel applied to
an unpolished stamped brass badge.

Why nickel ? This is very soft to touch with a scribe and chrome usually is harder.
There is no flaking as chrome normally does unless in a high wear area like handlebar spirals
it comes off easy as it very thin almost like cad. In fact a cad plated finish would almost be the
perfect finish look for the badge. (in my mind)

Here is another shot of a untouched, original paint 54 (sorry about the quality I had to dig them
out and scan them)

You must have got in the high 90s Wayne?

Pete

Sorry, Just have to resize the the 2nd shot.... done!
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FlatHeadSix
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Re: Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#6

Post by FlatHeadSix » Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:48 am

Wayne,
I wish you had brought this up a few weeks ago, I could have taken a bunch of pics of the archive 54's & 55's at the Harley museum in Milwaukee. The museum bikes are not all perfect examples but for many purposes they are the best examples we have. I'll get some photos next trip.

mike

old1955
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Re: Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#7

Post by old1955 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:24 am

G'day Wayne,

I just took my badge off, I had the fender off anyway.

Pete
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FlatHeadSix
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Re: Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#8

Post by FlatHeadSix » Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:50 am

Pete,
I'm just curious but I was wondering if the indentation below the "FLH" was caused by over-tightening the stud nut. Was there a spacer between the badge and the fender to prevent that?

mike

old1955
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Re: Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#9

Post by old1955 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:01 am

G'day Mike,

You are correct it has been over tightened. There was no spacer. This is the first
time I have taken it off. I have seen a few that have suffered the same fate.

When it goes back I'll will do that, the spacer, I'll try to straighten it first, very carefully, that's a
very sensible idea to save it happening again.

Thanks Mike!
Pete

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Re: Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#10

Post by Cotten » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:55 pm

The term "flash" plating can apply to either nickel or chrome, meaning a thin, unpolished layer of the coating.

Photos cannot capture the subtle difference in color, but nickel would have a slightly golden gray tinge.

I really don't know which they were, but I would bet on chrome by the mid-50s.


....Cotten

hydra74
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Re: Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#11

Post by hydra74 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:58 pm

bright chrome finish says the enthusiast of sept 1954

Hydra
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FelthamW
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Bikes: 1955 FLH
2005 FLHTC
1990 bastid wild child
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Re: Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#12

Post by FelthamW » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:19 pm

Hydra!!! YOU the man! That is excellant documentation. Can you forward me that .pdf via PM so I can start waving it in their face? If you can't attach anything to a PM, just contact me and I will give you an e-mail address that works. I certainly appreciate it. Maybe the Enthusiast's cover sheet too?

Good deal, just what I needed. I am overjoyed with this web site. It just doesn't get any better!

To the rest of you, a B-I-G thank you goes out. I was almost thinking that they dinged me for having a bright chrome finish instead of "flash" chrome (whatever that is) - now I have the ammo.

And yes, old1955 - I got my Senior First. Next stop.....Denton Farm Park for the Winner's Circle. (Hopefully......)

THANKS again, everybody.
Wayne

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Re: Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#13

Post by RUBONE » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:19 pm

Wayne,
The term "flash chrome' merely means that the chrome is put on with no undercoat of other layers and is extremely thin. that is why it is missing on all the old originals. It is bright, but doesn't hold up over time. Be aware that the repro badges tend to be show chromed which is not correct and will get you a ding!The originals were done that way because if you polish them a lot of the fine detail goes away. Sort of like the chrome finish on lots of original parts, they were not overly polished like the chrome shops always insist on these days.
Robbie

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Re: Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#14

Post by james » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:02 am

There's one for sale on e-bay now and it looks like some sort of coating like Pete describes, cad, nickle or worn out flash chrome .
Hope you get it figured out.

Jim

FelthamW
Posts: 33
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Bikes: 1955 FLH
2005 FLHTC
1990 bastid wild child
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Re: Chrome or Brass fender badges?

#15

Post by FelthamW » Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:19 pm

Robbie
My badge looks like it is show cromed and comparing it to the badges for sale on E-bay and the pics of unrestored bikes - it has lost some of it's crispness.

Maybe that is what they got it for, I don't know. But technically it is correct being chrome - not brass finish. I will argue the deduction.

Again, thanks to all of you.
Wayne

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