Azusa Engineering: History of #35 “Space” chain


Special #35 chain (as it was refered to then) first appeared in southern California late 1975 or early 1976 to solve the problem of oiling and dirt. I donâ„–t have a record of who started selling it, but it must not have been selling fast enough. Acme Chain Company of Holyoke, Mass. asked Azusa Engineering if they would distribute it. Azusa agreed to do so if they could have exclusive rights for the USA. Acme agreed and in November of 1976 Azusa announced the news to its Distributors and Dealers.

Our first ad called it “Outer Space” chain, a good description but in a sublime way tying it into the heavy space program that was getting so much attention in the world. Over time, the trade dropped the word “outer” and simply called it “space chain”, In time it was copied by others because of cost. Azusa sold its last batch of Acme chain to Wes Shoemaker in Pennsylvania and found an excellent quality replacement. There are other brands on the market at fair prices but Azusa enjoys a good segment of the market with its #35 space chain. Acme was manufactured in Singapore and ours in Taiwan by a top chain manufacturer.

The design of #35 space chain is beautifully simple. It is a combination of #35 and #41 chain. It uses the pin and bushing of #41 chain. The pin is longer, (about .520 vs. .460) and the bushing is longer also. When the bushing is peened or swaged to the inside plate of the #35 chain, the extra length of the bushing causes the upset material to gather. Instead of being flush to the inner sideplate as in standard #35, the material from the extra length of the #41 bushing forms like a little washer giving it the “space”.

Since it was wider than standard #35, Azusa wrote to all the clutch manufacturers they could find, suggesting they allow a little more room for chain clearance in their clutch sprockets.

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