Albert Augustus Pope founded the Pope Manufacturing Company in Hartford, Connecticut in 1878. He began manufacturing bicycles under the Columbia brand, and began buying original bicycle patents, so that he soon controlled and restricted the types of bicycles other American manufacturers could make at the time. Pope charged other manufacturers royalties for the use of his patents, and he was known for using advanced technologies during that time period for his bicycles. He made all of the components of the bicycles by hand, from ball bearings to hollow steel tubes for the frame. He also printed his own sales brochures and flyers.
The Pope Manufacturing Company became an innovator in their use of stamping in the production of metal bicycle parts. In the late 1800’s, Pope was the leading American producer of bicycles.
Pope began to manufacture electric automobiles in 1897, and began manufacturing pope motorcycles in 1902. By 1915, the company abandoned the production of automobiles, and by 1918, they were no longer manufacturing motorcycles, either.
After they stopped automobile and motorcycle production, the company changed hands quite a few times over the decades. They are presently the Columbia Manufacturing Company, and they still produce a limited amount of bicycles to this day.