« AnkstesnisTęsti »
was started in the winter of 1878 and '79, | but not fully brought out until the May meet in 1880. This was known as the " Special Columbia," and it has since been, as all their machines have been, constantly improved in details of construction.
The former style of machine was improved and perfected, and brought out in the spring of 1880, under the name of "Standard Columbia." They have also made the "Mustang," of cheaper grade. These machines have become so extensively used in nearly every State and Territory of the Union, that there is scarcely a boy or man in the country who is not familiar with the name, "Columbia Bicycle." It has been exported to India, to Turkey, Russia, West Indies, Brazil, Mexico, and other foreign parts, and even taken to England.
The Pope Manufacturing Company, and their experts, have paid more attention to perfection in construction and workmanship of the bicycle than they have to modifications or inventions in general structure; their good judgment, as well as the expensiveness of changes, making them conservative in the matter of innovations. There are many modifications of structure made in the English machines, sometimes necessitated by the demand of so many riders for something new every season, but more often by the desire of competing manufacturers to gain attention by some novelty, or to stimulate an overstocked trade by ingenious claims of improvement. These necessities have not yet been felt in this country. The Pope Manufacturing Company have, however, brought out some original improvements in anti-friction bearings, in pedals, heads, etc., but more especially in the machinery for making the parts of bicycles, much of which affords the subject-matter for patents. They keep a corps of tool-makers constantly employed improving the machinery for the construction of bicycles, and for such changes as they may introduce.
The Bicycle Factory at Hartford, Conn., is now the largest and best appointed of any in the world. Its capacity is such that twelve hundred bicycles per month now be turned out, and every part and particle of their machines, and of the accessories for them, is made by them, and under their supervision, from the rough material. In the buildings, several acres of flooring are devoted entirely to this business. On entering the main building, the visitor will find first, of course, the offices, then the designing and drafting and model rooms, in
which the experience of the men at the factory, and of those of best ability and judgment elsewhere, is focused, and the work is marked out. Passing by a winding way to the rear of the premises, one comes upon the forge-shops. Arranged on either side are a dozen large drop-forges, with the accompanying contrivances, while in the corners of the shop are pony hammers and power hammers of different sizes. Just off from the main room is a cabinet for the dies which are used in the forge-shop, the various sets being kept in their proper places when not in use, and many of them are so large and heavy that they require two men to handle them. It is believed that some of the dies used in this shop are the largest made in the world. These dies themselves are made in another part of the works by expensive machinery, under the direction of most skilled labor. In forging the "open head," for instance, four or five sets of dies are used; and one of these sets of large steel dies requires a fine workman, with the best machinery, six weeks to cut and finish. Not all the forging, however, is done in the forge-shop; there is another place where the rims are forged with rollers, and another where the backbones are drawn, and have the proper curvature and proportions given them. In another room, the welding of the rims is performed by a machinery peculiar to this factory; in still another, the front forks are welded to the arms extending downward from the head of the bicycle, or the hollow tubular forks are brazed, and where the rear forks are welded in like manner. In another is the finishing-room, where the busy emery-wheels make the fine metallic finish. In other rooms, the ingenious and wonderful screw-machinery cuts the nuts, screws, and bolts from the crude rods of commerce.
In the lathe-room, the cutting, milling, and turning of the cylindrical parts are done. In another room, the ball bearings, also peculiar to this factory, are made. In the millingroom the hubs are turned and bored to receive the spokes, and to be fixed on the axles. In still another room, which may be called the tiring-room, the rubber tires, now made in molds, are stretched upon the rims, cemented, and baked. In another room, the wheels are set up and trued. In the assembly-room, the wheels, forks, and ball bearings are put together and every part duly marked. Then there is the inspection-room, where all the parts of the different bicycles
are brought and tested with as much care as the finest watch machinery, to discover defects or irregularities, and to try their strength and soundness,-all imperfect parts being rejected, and every workman's work brought to judgment.
There is also the paint-shop, where those wheels and parts which are not designed to be all bright, or to be nickel-plated, are painted with their several coats and stripes. There is also a store-room for small parts, in which is kept the surplus collection of all the small parts which enter into the making of a bicycle.
racing bicycles. They make the styles which might be generally described as medium weight and light weight roadsters; and the observations at repair-shops across the country show that notwithstanding the fact that their machines are placed in the rinks and riding-schools and in the hands of learners to so large an extent, the percentage of breakages and repairs on their machines is much less than on any imported make of bicycle sold in this country. They have therefore succeeded in making the most durable bicycle yet constructed, and the one on the whole best suited to American roads.
The ball bearings made by this company are the neatest and most accurately adjusted, and most perfectly made, of any in the world. The nickel-plating done at Hartford by them, outlooks and outlasts that done anywhere else. Any one who avails himself of the opportunity (for the works are always open to a reasonable ob
servation) of going through this extensive factory, will have a greater respect, not only for the bicycle as a machine, but also for the enterprise and sagacity of these pioneer manufacturers.
This factory was started when there was scarcely a perceptible demand for the product, and called for the investment of thousands of dollars for tools and machinery, and thousands for stock, and thousands for labor and other expenses; it has been carried along by the projectors with one hand, while with the other they have spurred the demand, by teaching the American people through every legitimate avenue, and encouraged the promotion and extension of the healthy and enjoyable pastime of bicycling, and the practical use of the bicycle as a vehicle. The principal parts of the bicycle are covered by American patents, and it is interesting also to notice that the first and only patent ever granted upon the bicycle as an entire mechanism, so far as it was then developed, was the American patent to Lallemont in 1866. The Pope Manufacturing Company, not only for the protection of their own interests, but also for the furtherance of their general liberal policy in regard to the encouragement of the industry in this country, have obtained from time to time control of the important patents; and all others engaged in the business, either of making or importing and selling bicycles, in this country, do so under license from them. This company has also extensive salesrooms, principal offices, etc., in the elegant building, 597 and 599 Washington street, Boston. The company has its local agencies in more than two hundred cities and towns of this country.
The second cut in this article shows the "Standard Columbia," of which there are probably twice as many in use in this country as of all other bicycles taken together. As of late improved, it seems to accredit itself as the most satisfactory for general road-riding. The first cut shows one section of the "assembly-room" at Hartford; but the limits of this article would not afford space for illustrations that should give an adequate idea of the scope of this industry. Si monumentum quæris circumspice; and you will find the wheel at the beaches and at the mountains, at Saratoga and on the farms of Colorado. It is destined to become as familiar as the buggy, and as much a part of this century's contribution to the industrial-arts as the sewing-machine or the telephone.