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Friday
Sep302011

The Frame Registry: One year on

My frame registry site at davemoultonregistry.com has been in existence for a little over a year now. There are now slightly under a hundred members; that is over 100 frames listed as a number of those participating own more than one frame built by me.

I still have my frame number registry books for custom frames built in the UK in the 1970s, and for those built in the US from 1982 to 1986. I built a few custom frames in 1981 while I was working for Masi, but these numbers didn’t get written down anywhere, until now as they appear on the registry.

By 1982 I was no longer working for Masi and had to support myself by building my own custom frames. I built 69 frames in ’82; not bad considering I was still working in the Masi shop and sharing the tools and paint facility with three other builders.

In 1983 I moved into my own shop in San Marcos and production sky rocketed. 96 custom frames built, and over 300 John Howard frames. I put in 18 hour days, six days a week back then, but it got me started, and had it not been for that I would not be writing this today.

By 1986 the Fuso had been in production for two years, and the numbers of custom frames grew less and less. Only three custom frames are recorded in my book in 1986. That was the year I moved the business from San Marcos in San Diego County, 60 miles north to Temecula in Riverside County.

I have a feeling that the record book got misplaced in the move and that is why the recording stopped. It is a miracle really that these two little hardcover notebooks survived, especially in the years that followed my leaving the bike business in 1993.

I moved from California to Oregon in 1994 and from Oregon to South Carolina in 2001. I would by no means consider myself a pack-rat; and during the two big moves I scaled down my belongings considerably. However, I am pleased the books did survive.

The production frames like the Fuso and Recherché were simply numbered in sequence starting at 001. No records were kept of where the frames went after they left my shop, or for example which ones were the custom built Fuso Lux model. That information is only now becoming revealed in the online registry.

The Lux model was introduced in 1986; the earliest number in the registry is 716. But whether this was the first Fuso Lux frame built I have no way of knowing; a lower number may show up in the future.

The registry is revealing that many frames still have the original paint, and many are still owned by the original owners. However, we are only just scratching the surface with a little over 100 frames listed out of several thousand built.

It should be interesting how many frames will be listed by this time next year; will the number double, more than double or will it slow down? People for the most part simply stumble upon the registry, or hear about it through the grapevine. It is a not-for-profit enterprise, so I can’t afford to advertise it.

I am grateful to all who have participated so far; it is rewarding for me that there are a few people out there who consider my past work worth preserving. I am looking forward to our little community of DM owners growing so we can maybe embark on other things more than just listing names and numbers.

 

                        

Reader Comments (6)

Dave:

I was away from cycling for a few years, trying to segue back into running, but recently got back in the saddle. I dusted off my Fuso 216 and put it through its paces at some group rides here in So Cal.

I'm happy to report my Fuso still rides like a dream and the paint and decals look like new.

You should be proud of the legacy you created: functional and wonderfully crafted works of art.

All the best

Bill in Pasadena
owner, Fuso 216, 54cm

September 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBill in Pasadena

Not having your skills and thus making my living through much less creative means, I wonder how it felt for you after each frame was finished? Did it start to become ho-hom having built so many or did each one feel special, kinda like sending a child that you have raised off into the world? Being able to track your creations from a 30 + year career and knowing that they are still providing pleasure to people must be enormously satisfying.

September 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJW

JW,
Every frame was special, and yes it is very satisfying, it is the reason I stay in touch through this blog and the registry. When I was building the frames I distanced myself from my customers because I just didn't have the time.
Dave

September 30, 2011 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

Passion in print, I like it.

September 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTom Knoblauch

Dave
I was lucky enough to find one of your Recherche frames last year was able to enjoy it this season. Part of my enjoyment of the bike also comes from my finding your blog and reading your posts. Particularly enjoy the part of cycling history that you witnessed in your formative & bicycle building years.

October 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStelvio

As a newby frame builder I find your production numbers amazing. Something to strive for. Last year I produced 15 and though I tried to double it this year I was only able to come up with similar numbers. I did find time to restore one of your Masi frames. Taking it down to metal except for the decals which I masked off. Very well constructed. It turned out nice and will be on the road for another 30 years.

October 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhalekai

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