Today I'd like to show off an extremely rare, German Military tire pump. I say rare, but that may actually be an understatement. There are "tons" of the old truppenfahrrad, bicycle tire pumps floating around, but one type of pump that you may never find, is one of these "floor pumps" that can trace its roots back to the German Military.
I just happened to be browsing one of my favorite surplus sources for new and unique deals, and stumbled on these pumps. They were being sold as "vintage, surplus German Army" pumps, at a price I could not pass up (not that I can ever pass up rare, authentic, military bicycle items!). I took a chance and ordered one up. After a couple of order glitches, the pump arrived. It was more than I could have hoped it would be!
This pump is old. I would date it as WW2 vintage, or early Post-War vintage. There has been a lot of the "bottom of the bucket" and "back of the warehouse" surplus hitting the market lately, as Germany clears out the last of the old storage warehouses (the Old Stuff). I think that this small batch of pumps fits into that category (the batch was so small that they sold out almost instantly with no more available).
First off, lets get a good look at this pump and then we'll take a look at why I think it may be WW2 vintage, or at least very early Post-War.
The pump is in new condition and does not appear to have ever been issued or used. The paint is nearly perfect. The wood handle shows no wear, no corrosion, no rust, etc.
When it arrived, it was still wrapped in the old preservative paper with some very old cardboard around the fill nozzle. This style of preservative paper is the old type,1950's and prior.
The hose is the old cloth covered rubber with a real leather gasket on the threads of the pump end. The fill nozzle is the old style with the old pink rubber inside. All of this puts it in the WW2 or 1950's time frame.
One of the best clues as to the age of this pump, is the makers decal on the pump tube. On the tube of the pump, there is a diamond shaped decal with the brand name "SUDAG".
A bit of research revealed that the SUDAG name and emblem was used by the German tool and manufacturing company, Suckow-Duisberg.
|Old 1927 paperwork from Suckow-Duisberg.|
From what I can tell, Suckow-Duisberg was manufacturing in full force in the 1920's and through WW2. After WW2, it seems to have disappeared with no further "hits" mentioning it in any of the records. If this is in fact correct, then the pump dates to the WW2 era. (Possibly the factory was destroyed and never rebuilt after the war?).
The decal itself also gives us an important clue as to age. The decal has a metallic gold background. This gold background has a very "grainy" surface and appearance. The metallic printing on the old WW2 and pre-WW2 decals have this grainy appearance. The post-war decals have smooth surfaced metallic printing. Another strong indication the pump is from WW2 !
The cast metal base of the pump has the initials PWO cast into it. During the WW2 years, Germany started assigning random three letter codes to manufacturers to protect the locations of the German factories (so the Allies couldn't figure out who and where to bomb). If these initials are the three letter, war-time code for the company, then this would indicate that the pump was manufactured during the war, or was assembled after the war from war-time parts. There is not a complete list of all of the three letter codes used, as all of the records were lost or destroyed at the end of the war. I have not been able to find PWO to confirm that it was the code name for Suckow-Duisberg. If the PWO code is a war-time, three letter code for the SUDAG company, then it would make perfect sense that the two would be totally unrelated.
Another strong clue is the green paint. The color seems to match the WW2 military paint color, RAL6003 "Olivgrün", used by the Wehrmacht on many of their vehicles. It would make sense for the pump to be painted this color if it was intended to be carried in the tool kit of military vehicles. The base of the pump has fold-up feet, and the wood hand is threaded with a metal insert to make it removable, which would also indicate that it was intended to be carried in a more compact form on a vehicle.
After WW2, Germany did not have an army until the Bundeswehr was created in November of 1955. That is 10 years after the end of WW2. In 1951, the Bundesgrenzschutz (Federal Border Police) was created, however they used a much, much darker green, (schwarzgrün), for their vehicles and equipment. The early Bundeswehr, German Army, used an Olive Drab Green color, darker than the pump's green color. More circumstantial evidence that the pump is actually WW2 issue.
I may never know the true age of the pump, but I can say that it fits perfectly for WW2, or very early post-war production. I will be adding the pump to the bicycle gear that I have collected for my old Bundesgrenzschutz Dienstfahrrad bicycle. It's a perfect fit.
Here are a few pages from a couple of old bicycle parts catalogs from the pre-war years. You can see how this pump fits with the parts listed and illustrated.
Lets finish things up and take a look at the photo album of this amazing pump.