Schwinn Bicycle Company

Schwinn Bicycle Company

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Schwinn Bicycle Company

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Description:
The Schwinn Bicycle Company founded by German-born mechanical engineer Ignaz Schwinn (1860–1945) in Chicago in 1895. It became the dominant manufacturer of American bicycles through most of the 20th century and is a sub-brand of Pacific Cycle, owned by the multi-national conglomerate, Dorel Industries.

History

Founding of Schwinn

Ignaz Schwinn was born in Hardheim, Baden, Germany in 1860 and worked on two-wheeled ancestors of the modern bicycle that appeared in 19th century Europe. Schwinn emigrated to the United States in 1891, where he found similar difficulties. In 1895, with the financial backing of fellow German American Adolph Frederick William Arnold (a meat packer), he started the Arnold, Schwinn & Company. Schwinn's new company coincided with a sudden bicycle craze in America. Chicago became the center of the American bicycle industry, with thirty factories turning out thousands of bikes every day. Bicycle output in the United States grew to over a million units per year by the turn of the century.

The bicycle boom was short-lived, as automobiles and motorcycles quickly replaced bikes on American streets. By 1905, bicycle annual sales had fallen to only 25% of that reached in 1900. Many smaller companies were absorbed by larger firms or went bankrupt; in Chicago, only twelve bicycle makers remained in business. Competition became intense, both for parts suppliers and for contracts from the major department stores, which retailed the majority of bicycles...
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