Bicycle Design and Manufacture
Albert Pope 1843-1909

While visiting the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Albert Pope, the owner of Pope Manufacturing Company, saw the first modern bicycle ever to be displayed in the United States. The excitement over the two-wheeled contraption inspired him to travel to England, where he visited the factories that produced them. Back home again, he converted his business selling shoes and small mechanical parts into an import house for bicycles.

By 1878 Pope wanted to become more than just an importer, so he commissioned a mechanic named Atwell to create a version of the bicycle for Pope to manufacture. Pope introduced the chain-less bicycle which ran on a drive shaft and bevel gear, preparing the way for the automobile. He has been referred to as the "father of good roads" because his popular bicycle created a demand for better roads.The Columbia cost $313, a small fortune. Pope opened a large salesroom and a Bicycle Riding School at 87 Summer Street. Pope's bicycle was the first modern bicycle built in the United States, and the successors of his Columbia-brand bicycle can still be purchased.

 Colonel Albert Pope and His American Dream Machines by Stephen B. Goddard, 2000

The American Bicycle
by Jay and Jim Hurd, 2001