1. (Chicago) By 1897, an estimated one in seven city residents owned a bike...
2. (USA) By 1899, and estimated ten million cyclists were on the road nation-wide.
3. By the mid 1890s, when avg per capita income was $1000, the building of bicycles had become a $60 Million dollar
industry...... by 1896 Colonel Pope's East Coast operation was sending a cycle a minute out the factor door....
My "Favorite" factoid so far:
4. Schwinn bought up 2 motorcycle companies around 1911 - first Excelsior then Henderson 3 years later. (Excelsior was the fastest motorcycle of its time - ridden by Charles Linberg). The Excelsior-Henderson motorcycles became one of the "big three" with Indian and that other motorcycle company - ahh - Harley something.
What I've picked up so far - in my own words: The Real Rise of Schwinn seems most to do with not accepting a role in the big "trust" / "conglomerate" system that claimed to control about 75% percent of the USA bicycle industry going into the 30's ... There were long years of declining adult interest, and shrinking margins. The USA major retailers like Sears were squeezing / maximizing profits and no real interest (or expectations) for innovationsr. Models had little variety and little quality. Sales for children had grown to 95% of the market. Models were only expected to last a few years, "chinzy frames" / spindly tires. Frank Schwinn (son of founder / German immigrant) wrote:
"All bicycles were alike in appearance except perhaps some were worse than others" .
US Rubber was selling essentially one type of single-tube tire to American bike manufacturers...
Schwinn introduced the "Super Ballon Tire Bicycle" in 1933 - these tires were a big success and Schwinn saw a 150percent increase in sales.
...This was the first of a series of Industry leading innovations that Schwinn introduced to include suspended seats on more.
Sure enjoying this book.... thanks for the recommendation here!
....all this and I'm just finishing chapter 2 of 24.
Chapter 14 is "Land of the Giant" and seems to be where the devil was hiding for the Schwinn family.
XCELSIOR MOTOR MANUFACTURING & SUPPLY COMPANY OF CHICAGO in 1911
THEN , 3 years later, pourchased HENDERSON
What book exactly are you talking about? Can you post a link to Amazon or something?
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/No-Hands-Schwinn-American-Institution/dp/0805035532"]Amazon.com: No Hands: The Rise and Fall of the Schwinn Bicycle Company, an American Institution (9780805035537): Judith Crown, Glenn Coleman: Books[/ame]
I need to read this one day. Right now my reading is split between [ame="http://www.amazon.com/GOSSAMER-ODYSSEY-Morton-Grosser/dp/0395305314"]Gossamer Odyssey: The Triumph of Human-Powered Flight[/ame]
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Archangel-Senior-Crown-Development-Blackbird/dp/1563479338/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257140200&sr=1-1"]From Archangel to Senior Crown: Design and Development of the Blackbird [/ame]. I like bikes, but I already know too much about them. Airplanes are fun, too.
about "The Rise and Fall of the Schwinn Bicycle Company, an American Institution" (actual subtitle)
....but for me it is mostly offering some fascinating insight into the Bicycle Industry. Its not a new book - publish date is 1996. Not sure you can "really know bicycles" without knowing some of the Schwinn history. I'm sure getting more than I bargained for in industry insights...