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Wikipedia: Pope Manufacturing Company

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A bicycle, motorcycle, and automobile manufacturing company founded in 1876. Pope started before the widespread adoption of the automobile making bicycles, began manufacturing automobiles in 1897 and motorized bicycles in 1902.


The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Pope Manufacturing Company page on 14 July 2020, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Pope Manufacturing Company was founded by Albert Augustus Pope around 1876 in Boston, Massachusetts, and incorporated in Connecticut in 1877. Manufacturing of bicycles began in 1878 in Hartford, Connecticut, at the Weed Sewing Machine Company factory. Pope manufactured bicycles, motorcycles, and automobiles. From 1905 to 1913, Pope gradually consolidated manufacturing to the Westfield Mass plant. The main offices remained in Hartford. It ceased automobile production in 1915 and ceased motorcycle production in 1918. The company subsequently underwent a variety of changes in form, name and product lines through the intervening years. Yet all the way up to present-day, bicycles continue to be made available under the Columbia brand.

Pope Manufacturing Company was listed in the 1876 Boston City Directory, located at 54 High Street. In March 1877, the company drafted incorporation documents in Connecticut, naming Albert Pope, Charles Pope, and Edward Pope as shareholders. At the time of incorporation, Albert Pope held 595 shares, his father Charles held 400 shares, and his cousin Edward held five shares. The incorporation documents stated the company's intended business activities, "[to] make, manufacture and sell and licence to others to make, manufacture and sell air pistols and guns, darning machines, amateur lathes, cigarette rollers and other patented articles and to own, sell and deal in patents and patent rights for the manufacture thereof." Pope Manufacturing Company was already selling air pistols and cigarette rolling machines.

Though Pope Manufacturing had filed for incorporation in Connecticut, it continued to base its offices and many of its operations in Boston. Albert and Edward Pope operated a factory at 87 Summer Street in Boston as early as 1874 for the production of hand-held cigarette rolling machines.

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 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.

Pope declared bankruptcy in 1907 and died in August 1909.

Pope began manufacturing motorized bicycles in 1902 and continued with motorcycles until 1918.


DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
10 December 1895
grant date
United States Patent US 551,075
James S. Copeland for The Pope Manufacturing Company

- 287KB - 3 pages
21 January 1896
grant date
Flexible-Tired Wheel.
United States Patent US 553,252
George Mortson for Pope Manufacturing Company

- 521KB - 4 pages
10 March 1896
grant date
United States Patent US 556,004
James S. Copeland for the Pope Manufacturing Company

- 219KB - 3 pages
14 April 1896
grant date
United States Patent US 558,132
Bruno Weber for the Pope Manufacturing Company

- 336KB - 3 pages

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