Pope Manufacturing Company
|Type||Bicycle and Automobile Manufacturing|
|Founder(s)||Albert Augustus Pope|
|Headquarters||Hartford, Connecticut, United States|
|Area served||United States|
|Products||Bicycles, Motorcycles, Automobiles
Pope Manufacturing Company was founded by Albert Augustus Pope in Hartford, Connecticut. Starting in 1877, it manufactured bicycles, under the Columbia brand, motorcycles, and automobiles. It ceased automobile production in 1915, and ceased motorcycle production in 1918, but bicycles are still available under the Columbia brand.
The company began with the introduction of the "Columbia High Wheeler" bicycle in 1878. After the introduction of the high wheeler, Pope bought Pierre Lallement's original patent for the bicycle, and aggressively bought all other bicycle patents he could find, amassing a fortune by restricting the types of bicycles other American manufacturers could make and charging them royalties. He used the latest technologies in his bicycles—inventions such as ball bearings in all moving parts, and hollow steel tubes for the frame, and he spent a great deal of money promoting bicycle clubs, journals, and races.
Pope Manufacturing was an innovator in the use of stamping for the production of metal parts. Until 1896, the company was the leading US producer of bicycles. In 1914, the main offices of Pope were moved to Westfield, Massachusetts. However, in 1915, the Pope Manufacturing Company filed for bankruptcy. In 1916 Pope was reorganized and renamed The Westfield Manufacturing Company. The catalogs stating that they are “successors to The Pope Manufacturing Company”. In 1933, Westfield Manufacturing became a subsidiary of The Torrington Company of Torrington, Connecticut. In December 1960 and independent corporation was formed, and in 1961 was renamed Columbia Manufacturing Company. In 1967, Columbia Mfg. Co. merged with MTD. In 1987, Columbia Mfg. filed for bankruptcy. In 1988, Columbia was purchased by some of the local management and reorganized as Columbia Manufacturing Company and was no longer part of MTD. Bicycle production remains limited to this day, but import and sale of foreign bicycles continue.
Pope began manufacturing motorized bicycles in 1902 and continued with motorcycles until 1918.
In 1897, Pope Manufacturing began production of an electric automobile. By 1899, the company had produced over 500 vehicles. Hiram Percy Maxim was head engineer of the Motor Vehicle Department. The Electric Vehicle division was spun off that year as the independent company Columbia Automobile Company but it was acquired by the Electric Vehicle Company by the end of the year.
Pope tried to re-enter the automobile manufacturing market in 1901 by acquiring a number of small firms, but the process was expensive and competition in the industry was heating up.
Between the years 1903 and 1915, the company operated a number of automobile companies including Pope-Hartford (1903-1914), Pope-Robinson, Pope-Toledo (1903-1909), Pope-Tribune (1904-1907) and Pope-Waverley.
See also↑Jump back a section
- Herlihy, David V. (2004). Bicycle, The History. Yale University Press. pp. 184–192. ISBN 0-300-10418-9.
- "Pope Motor Bikes & Motorcycles". MrColumbia. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
- David Corrigan. "The Columbia Cars Are Born". Hog River Journal - Exploring CT History. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
- "American Automobiles - Manufacturers". Farber and Associates, LLC - 2011. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
- Daniel Vaughan (Aug 2005). "1911 Pope-Hartford Model W news, pictures, and information". Conceptcarz.com. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
- "Bicycle-Making: Where and How Bicycles are Made." Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly v.12 no.5, November 1881.
- "Pope Manufacturing Company." Moses King, ed. King's handbook of New York city: an outline history and description of the American metropolis. 1892
- "The Progress of a great industry." Outing (Advertising Supplement), v.19, no.6, 1892
- "Pope Bicycle building burned; only the walls remain of the handsome Boston headquarters of the Columbia Wheel." New York Times, March 13, 1896
- David A. Hounshell. From the American system to mass production, 1800-1932. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1984
- Bruce Epperson. Failed Colossus: Strategic Error at the Pope Manufacturing Company, 1878-1900." Technology and Culture, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Apr., 2000), pp. 300–320
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Pope Manufacturing Company|
- Poster illustrating Columbia High-Wheeler
- Current Columbia Bicycles
- Bostonian Society. Photo of Pope Manufacturing Company at 221 Columbus Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, ca. 1892