American made bicycles are some of the most hotly collected antiques and vintage items in existence. There were so many brand name American bicycles around the turn of the century that it’s hard to know which ones are classics and which ones aren’t. Read ahead to understand the history behind current day American vintage bicycles.
History of American Made Bicycles
Did you know…?
Did you know that many manufacturers of classic American bicycles went on to build automobiles and even planes?
This is a testament to the growth of the bicycle industry that it attracted so many bright young talents. It also constitutes proof of the impeccable quality of classic American bicycles – after all, they were built by many of the transport industry’s greatest minds!
By the early 1900s the bicycle market was reaching a new peak of success. During this period there were hundreds of bicycle companies in the United States. Competition between bicycle manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and wholesalers constantly increased the bar for bicycle quality in America. The American Bicycle Company was formed as a trust to control competition, prices, and supply.
After the American Bicycle Company failed, there were several companies left, standing on their own. These companies fought to usurp thousands of bicycle brands that were going under. Pope Manufacturing and Schwinn were companies which acquired nearly 1000 bicycle brands between the two of them alone.
American Vintage Bicycles Makers
Colson bicycles were built by the Colson Corporation, but they were sold by several different retailers between 1917 and 1953. The two primary retailers were Goodyear and Firestone. Two of their models, the “Clipper” and the “Cruiser” and “Super Cruiser” are definitely considered classic American bicycles today.
Huffman / Huffy
The Huffman Manufacturing Company started in 1934, and they actually still produce bicycles today. The collectors’ items that emerged from this company include any bikes produced from the mid to late 1930s. In 1953, the Huffman Company adopted the name Huffy.
Schwinn is one of the most sought after American made bicycles today. Schwinn is known for, and always has been known for their unsurpassed quality. Schwinn built such classics as the Phantom, and what really made an impact as an American Icon was Schwinn’s balloon-tired bicycles, including the Aerocycle in the early 1930s.
The Murray Manufacturing Company of Ohio produced many of todays sought after American vintage bicycles. Murray’s bicycles were made for Sears, Roebuck and Company and they manufactured some of the most desired collectors’ items today.
The Shelby Cycle Company manufactured some of the most highly sought after collectors’ bicycles. In the late 1920s, the Lindy Flyer was popular. In the 1930s they produced the Shelby Speedline Airflo. Both of these bicycles are collectors’ items today and highly sought after classic American bicycles.
Sample American Made Bicycles
If you’re just entering the world of vintage bicycles, or if you have been deeply entrenched in this fascinating subject for years, you have probably heard of the Roadmaster bicycle. Read more about the Roadmaster Supreme, Roadmaster Luxury Liner, Roadmaster Skyrider Deluxe and other beautiful Roadmaster bicycles.
Western Flyer Bicycle
The Western Flyer bicycle has established itself in history as one of the most iconic bicycles of the classical era. No wonder then why these bicycles are so popular among the community of bicycles collectors. Read here for more.
American Vintage Bicycles Online
Last Word about American Made Bicycles
There are so many other American made bicycle brands including Columbia, Dayton, Elgin, Western Flyer, Hawthorne, Roadmaster and so much more. These companies were iconic in the bicycle world, and they have produced many classic bicycles that collectors covet.
The cycling industry was so major in the early 1900s until the middle of the century that it produced many, many bicycles that are now considered classics. This history of the American bicycle is so interesting it’s easy to see why so many collectors and enthusiasts are into the world of vintage, antique, and classic American bicycles.
- Take a look at this nice little website about the early cycling, made by the university of Indiana.
- Visit The Bicycle Museum of America.