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Columbia Bicycles advertisement from 1886

Pope Manufacturing Company is a manufacturing company started by Albert Augustus Pope in Hartford, CT. The company began with the introduction of the "Columbia High Wheeler" bicycle in 1878. Pope bought Pierre Lallement's original patent for the bicycle, and aggressively bought all other bicycle patents he could find, amassing a fortune by restricting the types of bicycles other American manufacturers could make and charging them royalties. He used the latest technologies in his bicycles—inventions such as ball bearings in all moving parts, and hollow steel tubes for the frame, and he spent a great deal of money promoting bicycle clubs, journals, and races. Until 1896, Pope was the leading US producer of bicycles.

Pope Manufacturing was an innovator in the use of stamping for the production of metal parts.

Hiram Percy Maxim was head engineer of the Motor Vehicle Department.

1914 Pope motorcycle

In 1897, Pope Manufacturing began production of an electric vehicle. By 1899, the company had produced over 500 vehicles. 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 the 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.

Pope declared bankruptcy in 1907 and abandoned the automobile industry in 1915.

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