SchwinnBlack Phantoms

     The Arnold, Schwinn & Company first began producing bicycles in 1895, when a "bicycle boom" was at its peak (Pridmore & Hurd 8).  Hundreds of other companies soon went out of business after the boom, but Schwinn and their "Teutonic Tenacity" continued on (8).  There were many ups and downs in the bicycle market over the next hundred years, with each boom the Schwinn name became more of an American icon.  Today, over a hundred years later, the Schwinn name is the most recognized name in American Cycling. 

     The Black Phantom was first introduced in 1949, and became an American Icon, being known as one of the great consumer products of the postwar era (Pridmore & Hurd 90).  This success was quite remarkable because this new style of bike was not a revolutionary design, in fact the bike was not even all that different from the prewar bicycles.  It had streamlined parts, like many other bikes, but what set it apart was the, "lavish use of chrome in the horn tank, fenders, even the housing for the rear reflector, emphasized that this was no ordinary bicycle" (90).  In fact, "A decade later Detroit would also apply enormous amounts of polished metal to their cars" (Mitchel 57). 

     The Black Phantom, while the most coveted, was not the only Phantom around.  There was also a red and a green Phantom, and even a woman's blue Phantom.  Each of these Phantoms had great features which made the bike so desirable.  Some of these features include, "A chrome painted tank, complete with a built-in horn button, a chromed front suspension and the sleek Fenderlite... a built-in Cycelock and automatic stoplight... and fully chromed tubular rims and spokes (Mitchel 57). 

     Pictured above are the two Schwinn Black Phantoms in the Antique Warehouse Collection.  The bike in the rear with whitewall tires is a 1995 reproduction, the front bike with all black tires is an original from 1953.  The original has been fully restored to better than original quality, and the reproduction closely mirrors the original. 

     Our restoration team has been very busy and this restoration is quite difficult and highly specialized, so we left this restoration up to a true professional who restores bicycles, Ken Robins of Cary, Illinois.  Also a restoration note, we were able to come up with original NOS (New Old Stock) tires for this bike.  Not all of the original Black Phantoms came with white wall tires as our original NOS  tires demonstrate.

Mitchel, Doug.  Standard Catalog of Schwinn Bicycles 1895-2004.  2004.

Pridmore and Hurd.  Schwinn Bicycles.  2001.

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