The Kohout – Serial number 39

The exhibited bicycle is one of four oldest preserved numbered machine from Kohout’s factory. All the components bear the typical smithy characteristics from the early period of Kohout high-wheel bicycles. Renovation of the bicycle revealed the beauty of the old trade.

         The most interesting part is the way the frame was made, the backbone of the bicycle. The round cross-section would logically suggest that the original material was round. However, things were actually very different. An iron strip with the length of the frame and a cross-section of approximately 20-25 x 10 millimetres is twisted in a spiral two or three times.The twisting is denser in the upper part, ensuring greater strength and a thicker diameter. The final shape of the frame was created by the smith’s hammer and this was so perfect that this procedure is certainly not visible on the painted frame. Minor unevenness was filled in with sealant prior to painting. The individual parts of the front fork are also joined only by black-smith work, even at places where we would expect a weld or soldering. The quality of the joins was tested by time. It was confirmed that the fork endured the pitfalls of the uneven roads.This cannot be said of the frame. This is reflected in the period repairs and the thickening of the frame at the site of connection to the flat part, which turns in the head.

         The paint on the painted parts is new, but the metal parts that were only polished to the clean metal by the manufacturer have been similarly treated like when the bicycle was taken home by the new owner. 

         Today, we can see the value of the rougher means of production; for example the threads on the nipples remained completely undisturbed and enabled perfect centering of the wheels.Needle bearings are characterized by unusually long lives and consequently are used in many branches of industry to the present day. The Kohout bearings are a perfect example. They remained quite tight and undamaged and can continue to serve their purpose.  

         This fifty-four is quite capable of operation, similar to several other known Kohout bicycles with open heads whose owners still use them for the joy of riding.

The Kohout – Serial number 39

Technical data:

  • Brand name: J. KOHOUT – Smíchov   
  • Model: not mentioned
  • Manufacturer: J. Kohout – Továrna na mlýnské stroje (Mill machinery factory), Smíchov, Bohemia
  • Production number: 39
  • Size of the front wheel 54”, number of spokes: 44
  • Size of the back wheel: 18”, number of spokes: 14
  • Weight: 23 kg
  • Renovation:  Robert Štěrba, 1997
  • Origin: from an inheritance in Plaňany in Bohemia