Mystery handmade lightweight - W.P. Newton?

YankeeDan

Retro Newbie
Greetings vintage lightweight connoisseurs and experts. Some time back I purchased this frame on Ebay, and I was wondering if anyone here can identify it. The seller reported that the frame was made by W.P. Newton, or at least sold at the W.P. Newton shop. However, I am unable to find photos of anything similar online so I wonder if this identification is correct. The serial number is uninformative--just the number 630 stamped on the bottom bracket and fork. Perhaps this indicates a very small-scale manufacturer?

The lugwork seems inspired by builders such as Ephgrave and Hurlow, although on close examination may not be at quite the level of their best work. Still I find it is quite attractive and distinctive, especially the heart-shaped cut-outs. I have not seen these on any other British cycles, though this may simply reflect my ignorance. Eager to hear your thoughts! Also wondering whether the shifter braze on is as intended, or has broken?
 

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allenh

rBotM Winner
Sorry can't help on the maker, some bits look familiar but not others.

I have to say though its a nice looking frame and if it were mine it would get a suitably flamboyant paint job and be built up with nice period parts.
 

OldTel

rBotM Winner
Re:

Hi, very nice frame, well bought. It does appear to have all the early No 1 Ephgrave curves and swirls in all the right places, and I would place it very early fifties but we are now going into a big grey area, was it a homage ( W P Newton did do framebuilding I believe ) or was it an Ephgrave build ? Ephgrave did do work for other shops, he ran a business, in competitive times, and at a guess this looks to be an Ephgrave shop build, so the best you can do is build it as a W P Newton, and attribute it to be probably build by the Ephgrave shop. Just out of curiosity where is the serial number on the bottom bracket, I have a frame in a similar position, not as finely done as yours, but it looks like an Ephgrave cast off, thrown together by an apprentice, but it has been used by someone ( no decals at all ), I hope this helps, Terry
 

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peetee

Senior Retro Guru
Re:

Lovely looking frame but I would say it’s not a Hurlow or Ephgrave. The lugs are intricate but the thickness varies a fair bit; not what I would expect to see from such well respected craftsmen.
If you do get it resprayed do be sure to choose the paint shop wisely. A lot of modern finishers create a thick coat which will look awful on a fancy lug frame.
 

YankeeDan

Retro Newbie
Thanks so much for the thoughts and advice.

Yes, I agree it is not consistent with the works of the top craftsmen or the nicest of the factory bicycles like 1950s Holdsworth, etc.. The differences in thickness are quite noticeable in person. Regarding the serial number: it is just stamped on the lowest part of the bottom bracket. In fact the number is 320, I mistyped it earlier.

Regarding repainting: I have repainted the frame myself, but am not completely satisfied with the results for the reasons that you mention. It is very challenging for an amateur to achieve a finish that is both thin and durable with regular "rattle can" spray paint. My first attempt had poor adhesion and coverage. I then re-stripped the frame, put on more primer and a thicker coat of paint. Now I have lost some of the "sharpness" around the lugs. While it has been a learning process, I think the ultimate lesson is that painting may be best left to professionals!
 
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