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In 1878, the first American manufacturer of bicycles was created in Hartford Connecticut. A man by the name of George Fairfield was the president of Hartford’s Weed Sewing Machine Company in 1878. He was the person who agreed to a contract in which the company would make 50 Columbia brand bicycles.


  • Weed Sewing Machine Company Factory
  • Weed Sewing Machine Company

A Hartford native named Samuel Colt is the original creator and inventor of the machines that would be manufactured at the Hartford Weed Sewing Machine Company. He was a unique inventor in that he was the first person to create a manufacturing process that allowed for mass production of machines. His specialty was his revolver. At the time, all revolvers were one-of-a-kind as all of them were individually made by manufacturers. This was too slow, however, as it took the manufacturers a long time to produce one machine. And because all revolvers were different, it made it very difficult to fix it if it broke. This was a big problem during the War of 1812 as revolvers were broken quite frequently on the battlefield. This led Samuel Colt to create a manufacturing process that would allow for a mass production of identical products. Therefore, if part of a revolver broke, it would be an easy fix: just replace the broken part with a non broken, identical part. This made Samuel Colt and the Hartford Weed Sewing Machine Company famous as Samuel Colt brought his new manufacturing process to the Hartford Sewing Machine Company for them to use to better the sewing machine and their products. Because of Samuel Colt’s amazing new invention of a faster, mass production manufacturing process at the Weed Sewing Machine Company Factory, Colonel Albert Pope was attracted to the factory to produce his bikes. Albert A. Pope was importing bicycles from England to resell in America. In 1878, he decided he wanted to produce his own bikes in America to sell. At the time, Pope did not have a factory, so he needed a factory that he could trust to produce his bicycles. Because he had heard of the amazing manufacturing process Samuel Colt created for the Weed Sewing Machine Company, Pope decided to go to that factory to produce his bikes. In 1878, George Fairfield was the president of the company. He agreed to a contract with Albert Pope that stated that his company would manufacture 50 Columbia brand bicycles for Colonel Albert Pope. The Weed Sewing Machine Company in Hartford, Connecticut was the first place bicycles were manufactured in the United States. Once Pope was able to build his own factory, he started his company named The Pope Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut where he produced his own bikes.  

Donovan, Alex. “Samuel Colt...and Sewing Machines?: Connecticut History: a CTHumanities Project.” Connecticut History | a CTHumanities Project, 2 July 2019, connecticuthistory.org/samuel-colt-and-sewing-machines/.

Epperson, Bruce. “Failed Colossus: Strategic Error at the Pope Manufacturing Company, 1878-1900.” Technology and Culture, vol. 41, no. 2, 2000, pp. 300–320., doi:10.1353/tech.2000.0060.

Lord, Jesse H. “An Opinion From A High Source.” Ogdensburg Daily Journal, 17 June 1868.

Mozer, David. “Bicycle History (& Human Powered Vehicle History).” Bicycle History Timeline, www.ibike.org/library/history-timeline.htm.

Wyatt, Geraldine. “Texas Rangers First To Prove Value of Samuel Colt's Famous ‘Six-Gun.’” Sikeston Daily Standard, Missouri, 15 Oct. 1951.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Weed_Sewing_Machine_Company_Hartford_Conn_(1889)_(14784549085).jpg

https://www.sheaff-ephemera.com/list/odds_ends_album/weed-sewing-machine-company.html