Author Topic: Odd knuck serial number  (Read 3116 times)

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Offline Jimmer

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Odd knuck serial number
« on: March 27, 2011, 05:24:00 PM »
While going through some of my late father's papers, we found a note that said;"41 knucklehead Serial   41SL 4849.  The printing is very clear, so we are not misreading it.

I've never seen an SL number.  Wonder if it's just been misread when the note was written.  Dad owned a '41 knuck which I mentioned last year as having been stolen many years ago.  Just wondering if this number could have referred to his old bike.

Thanks,

Offline Ultrashovel

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Re: Odd knuck serial number
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2011, 07:24:02 PM »
It was very likely just a typo. If I recall correctly, the first FL (74") came out in 1941. Other possible numbers might have been E or F, (low compression 61" or 74") EL or FL, (high compression 61" or 74") or the flathead WL's, U's, UL's, etc. I don't think there was ever an "SL".

At one time, I owned a 46 FL. It was my first Big Twin that I got in a I trade for a worn-out 1948 Matchless 500cc. I don't recall ever hearing the term "Knucklehead" in Chicago when I was a kid. I think that was a West Coast term that caught on later, like Panhead.


Offline Speeding Big Twin

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Re: Odd knuck serial number
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2011, 07:55:30 AM »
I agree with Ultrashovel in that it was likely just a typo. And Ultra is correct in that the first FL Knuckle was a 1941 model. So it may have been either an FL or an EL as per the examples shown below:





Some models were noted as ES or FS (S for sidecar gearing) on some paperwork and sometimes you’ll find those designations on Harley order blanks, depending on the year. But the S wouldn’t be stamped on the engine as part of the serial number of a 1941 model. Apparently some bikes in the 1930s may have had the S stamped in as part of the engine serial number but the only one I know of is a 1935 VDS (Big Twin Flathead).     Eric



Offline drinner-okc

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Re: Odd knuck serial number
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2011, 06:25:49 PM »
I want you guys think of printing you've seen from way back. Folks used to write different than we do now. Even in print i've seen large fancy S's used as an F. Remember when a 7 had a slash thru the lower line to differentiate it from a letter T? 
Where I work we have written records back to almost 1900. Some words are spelled differently.
one that shows up alot is olde.

Offline Ultrashovel

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Re: Odd knuck serial number
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2011, 06:30:07 PM »
I want you guys think of printing you've seen from way back. Folks used to write different than we do now. Even in print i've seen large fancy S's used as an F. Remember when a 7 had a slash thru the lower line to differentiate it from a letter T? 
Where I work we have written records back to almost 1900. Some words are spelled differently.
one that shows up alot is olde.

That's very likely what happened.

Offline Speeding Big Twin

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Re: Odd knuck serial number
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2011, 09:38:47 AM »
Dwight, I know what you mean by different spellings and at work I sometimes see evidence of that in old newspapers and on old maps. But Jimmer said: ‘The printing is very clear, so we are not misreading it.’ Therefore I have to conclude that the letter in question is indeed a normal capital S which in turn is likely a typo that was meant to be either an F or an E.

You mentioned that you’ve seen large fancy Ss used as an F. I haven’t seen an S used as an F but I’m aware of a character/symbol which looked like the letter f but was in fact the letter s. In Old English the rounded symbol for an s-type sound was usually written in an elongated fashion and our lower-case letter s was a smaller version of that. But in the 1600s a longer version of the letter s appeared. It  looked like the letter f but without the cross-bar and it is sometimes known as a long s. The so-called long s was used everywhere except at the end of words where the rounded s was used. And the long s can be found in print until the early 1800s.     Eric


Offline Jimmer

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Re: Odd knuck serial number
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2011, 10:53:26 AM »
Thanks again for all the input.  I do know that Dad's '41 was a 61" Knuck, which I assume would have been an EL.  When I found this note it made me curious and reminded me of the '41 EL Dad once owned and that had been stolen.  So I had a distant hope this number might help trace that old Knuck.  Wishful thinking, I'm sure.

Offline panic

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Re: Odd knuck serial number
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2015, 10:04:18 AM »
A typo?
LOL...

Offline Speeding Big Twin

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Re: Odd knuck serial number
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2015, 07:04:11 AM »
A typo?
LOL...


I sent you a PM.

Have you never seen a typo in a note? You do realise the typo was in said note? And you do realise this thread goes back to 2011?
Eric

Offline Ultrashovel

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Re: Odd knuck serial number
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2015, 07:17:35 AM »
A typo?
LOL...


I sent you a PM.

Have you never seen a typo in a note? You do realise the typo was in said note? And you do realise this thread goes back to 2011?
Eric

Hi, as you say, it really does have to be a typo. A friend in my former club in Chicago bought a used factory-built 1941 sidecar rig. It came with a commercial box on the sidecar that had been converted to a hot dog wagon. The engine had thrown a connecting rod and I helped disassemble it so that we could repair the frame where the rear rod had flattened the seat tube. I recall clearly that the motor number was 41 EL XXXX. If there were such a thing, that machine would have had an "S" on the engine. I also worked as a mechanic at an agency in Chicago that had a fleet of factory panhead rigs that were used to deliver blueprints and I never saw one with an "S" on the engine case. And yes, this is an old thread.  LOL. :hyst:
« Last Edit: August 30, 2015, 07:24:38 AM by Ultrashovel »