Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Elswick-Hopper Lincoln Imp

     Among the more fancifully named bicycle models of the past was Elswick-Hopper’s Lincoln Imp. Many present day cyclists know of this 1950s bike through Sheldon Brown’s charming reminiscence of a Lincoln Imp that he owned in youth.

     The bike took its name from a sculpted demon high in the choir of Lincoln Cathedral, which is about thirty miles from Barton-on-Humber, home to Elswick-Hopper’s plant. Such figures, survivals of pre-Christian religions, are common elements in medieval art and architecture. Over the centuries the Imp of Lincoln Cathedral became a symbol of the city of Lincoln. It appears in military insignia and sports team regalia associated with Lincoln, and copies of the Imp long have decorated Lincoln College, Oxford.

A member of the V-CC New England Section rides an Elswick-Hopper Lincoln Imp circa mid-1950s. The frame is of Reynolds 531 plain gauge tubes, and is equipped with some of the better components of its day.

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