1920s FN-Herstal Gents Chainless ‘The Rapid’
1920s FN-Herstal Gents 24″ Chainless:
Cycles Hoboken ‘The Rapid’
Local companies could not afford to tool up to make their own machines, so they bought in frames and components from the top manufacturers and added their own badges.
One of these companies was G. Onkelinx of Antwerp, whose shop ‘Cycles Hoboken’ marketed ‘The Rapid.’
Small local businesses were able to offer their customers a more personal service than the large manufacturers. Bear in mind also that a hundred years ago it was not as easy to travel outside your own area, so it made sense to buy from a local supplier.
Though local cycle dealers would often adapt suppliers’ machines to customers’ specific requirements, in this case ‘The Rapid’ is essentially the same as FN’s own machine. The only ‘personalized’ items are the superb wooden mudguards and celluloid handlebars.
The FN saddle is in good condition …except that, after a hundred years of use, the FN name and motif has worn off the sides.
BRIEF HISTORY of FN HERSTAL
FABRIQUE NATIONALE d’ARMES de GUERRE
FN & COLUMBIA
For more than a hundred years, FN Herstal (and subsequently the Herstal Group FNH USA) have equipped generations of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. The company is now located in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. From the mid-1890s, Pope’s Columbia Chainless was America’s most popular shaft-drive bicycle.