Were there any bicycle manufacturers based in Pittsburgh back in the day?
Tagged: history frame manufacturer
Just wondering if there were any bicycle manufacturers located in Pittsburgh back around the turn of the century (1900). I don’t mean a one or two man operation but something larger. If there was, it would be cool to look into getting come kind of historical marker made (maybe even with a bicycle rack attached!)
I was curious about this once, and found this image:
like the bad researcher that i am, i don’t remember where i even found it or anything about the company. but it’s a cool image
I love it when google leads me to a thread on this board….
Original inquiry from Ferrency, dated 5 years ago:
Hey there, The Retro Goodness thread reminded me of a question I had. Does anyone know of any vintage (50-100 year old) bike manufacturers from/in Pittsburgh? The only one I’ve heard of is Duquesne Manufacturing, which according to cursory googling may have been in operation from 1897 to 1898. I think it would be fun to ride an old bike with heritage here, at least occasionally. I specifically mean old school manufacturers/builders, not the frame builders still working in town. Any vintage lugged steel from the steel city? Update: Here are my search results; doesn’t look like a lot of options. Anyone else know of manufacturers/brands the Wheelmen have missed? Alan
Login to Send PM
Posted 5 years ago
yeah, you’d think there’d be more, considering how much steel manufacturing there was. it’s a very interesting inquiry. although it’s a bit off topic, here’s an advert i found for a bike shop in E. Lib back in the day. i haven’t researched the “cleveland” but i heard that it might have been the wright bros company. can this be confirmed/denied?
One thing is you see 2 different spellings for it. So as we all know, the “Pittsburg” name means it was in business between 1890-1911. the “Pittsburgh” spelling dates to 1893 in the ad (if I’m reading it right) so I probably started business prior to 1890.
I’d try to look it up in a city directory from 1895 or thereabouts.
Good eye on catching the “Pittsburg” spelling. I’ll try that too.
Here’s a scan of an article on a Duquesne bicycle: http://www.velo-retro.com/images/Duquesne.jpg
The Carnegie Library’s digital Historic Pittsburgh collection has lots of city directories with bike references. In 1897:
The Keystone Bicycle Club was at 5732 Howe Street.
Duquesne Bicycle School was at Old City Hall in Market Square.
Duquesne Manufacturing Company (William Abbott, president) made bikes in room 61 of the Imperial Power Building. Their salesroom was at 518 Wood.
And lots more just in this directory, including other manufacturers, bike repairers, teachers, and livery. There’s also a Jones and Laughlin ad that says they offer “American Special Cold Rolled Steel for Bicycle Parts”
I found Pittsburg Cycle Company listed in Pittsburgh and Allegheny directory, 1898. They were at 36 Union Avenue, Allegheny. There were several dozen companies and people offering bicycles, plus more listed under bicycle sundries, bicycle storage, bicycle repairers, etc.
Or in 1895, you could buy a Cleveland bike at Banker Bros Cycling Company, at the corner of Highland and Center Avenues.
I grew up in Smethport PA, 160 miles north of Pittsburgh. Here is a page from the local history website:
The page is a about an 1890’s dentist from Smethport who also sold Rambler Bicycles, which were manufactured in Chicago. I would guess if Pittsburgh had a big manufacturer he would have sold those bikes. Good luck hope you find something though.
the last sentence of DanBP’s sunol picture, “My wheel is as good as the day I bought it from your agents, the Pittsburgh Cycle Co.”, makes me think that the pg[h] cycle co was more of a reseller than a manufacturer.
Thanks for the links everybody, they are very helpful. I also found a list of bikes manufactured in Pittsburgh between 1890 and 1918:
Duquesne Special-(M) Duquesne Manufacturing Company, Pittsburgh PA, 1897-1898
Duquesne Standard-(M) Duquesne Manufacturing Company, Pittsburgh PA, 1898
Duquesne-(M) Duquesne Manufacturing Company, Pittsburgh PA, 1898
Explorer-(M) Joseph Beatty & Company, Pittsburgh PA, 1898
Hustler-(M) Joseph Beatty & Company, Pittsburg PA, 1898
Roamer-(M) Joseph Beatty & Company, Pittsburg PA, 1898
Sunflower-(M) Nicholas & Whetsel, Pittsburg KS, 1898
Tygard-(M) James W. Tygard Company, Pittsburgh PA, 1898
Wayfarer-(M) Joseph Beatty & Company, Pittsburg PA, 1898
Courtesy of http://www.thewheelmen.org
> Sunflower-(M) Nicholas & Whetsel, Pittsburg KS, 1898
maybe this isnt what you were looking for… i dont think we are in kansas (anymore)
Ha, I went to school in Pittsburg, KS my freshman year of college.
spend enough time in pittsburg, california and youll have the trifecta!
Wow! I hadn’t seen this thread before! Interesting!!!
That wheelmen.org website is pretty cool!!!
Bicycle heaven / bike museum of pittsburgh has a 1863 all wood made bike made in pittsburgh,,its called a bone shaker,,,we are looking for other cool vintage bikes / info paper wook,,anything cool / bicycle
You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Click here to login.