Friday, December 27, 2019

Lester cast wheels



Nathan Lesternrck was born in Russia, a second generation master machinist. He emigrated to the US in 1905. He learned English at night school in philadelphia and now Nathan Lester, began a career of machining and toolmaking. His skills soon had him developing die casting machines and in 1935 had established the Lester Engineering company making die casting machines under his own name. 
His son Thomas learned the trade early in his father's shop and these skills had him working with NACA in turbine engine development during WW2. After the war he started the Lester Casting company in Cleveland. By the 1960s the company was doing well and along with some friends, he started manufacturing tires for antique cars under the name Lincoln Highway Tire. The company grew, becoming the Lester Tire company.  His main business though was still die casting with an emphasis on innovation and on January 14, 1976, a patent was filed by Thomas Lester for cast motorcycle wheels. On September 13, 1977, United States Patent 4047764 was issued for "Composite motorcycle wheel construction" described as follows.
"Lightweight composite motorcycle wheel construction characterized in that it comprises a wheel unit casting including concentric outer and inner rim and sleeve portions integrally connected together by angularly spaced spokes; and a hub unit casting having an interference fit within the bore of the sleeve portion thus to frictionally retain the hub and wheel units together against relative angular and axial movement while the bearing receiving bore in the hub unit is located and held coaxially of said rim portion, the wheel and hub units additionally being welded together to prevent relative angular and axial movement despite application of torque and axial loads exceeding the frictional resistance of the interference fit."

 The Lester Casting Company was sold to ITT in 1980 and Thomas Lester retired from the casting business, remaining active in other vehicle-related ventures. He passed away in 2005.
From a much more detailed history at Bradshaw Bikes on Facebook.

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