Albert Linder Pope (1872 – 1955)
Born in Hartford in 1872, Albert Linder Pope was the son of inventor and businessman Colonel Albert Augustus Pope and Abby Linder Pope. Today, Albert Augustus Pope is best known for establishing Pope Manufacturing Company in Hartford. In 1878, Pope Manufacturing Company manufactured and sold Columbia Bicycles. Albert Augustus Pope aggressively purchased all other bicycle patents he could find, and until 1896 Pope Manufacturing Company was the leading U.S. producer of bicycles. Pope Manufacturing Company implemented the latest and best technologies related to bicycles such as ball bearings for all moving parts and hollow steel tubes for the frame.
In 1897, Pope Manufacturing began manufacturing electric cars. Until 1900, Pope was Hartford’s most significant employer as the world’s largest manufacturer of bicycles and the largest automaker.
Albert Linder Pope was educated at Chauncey Hall School in Boston, Massachusetts, King’s School in Stamford, Connecticut, and Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. When old enough, Pope began working at his father’s company as an average laborer. He was trained to work in the various departments but, unfortunately, this training could not help him save the family business. By 1905, Pope Sr. was having a difficult time managing the business. Competition was increasing, electric cars were being outsold by gasoline-fueled cars, and debt was overtaking the company. Albert Linder Pope was ordered by the bankruptcy courts to take over managing the company and its extensive debt. He decided he had no other choice but to sell Columbia Bicycle Co. to a firm in Westfield, Mass., which still makes the bikes today.
Albert Linder Pope died in 1955.
Hartfordinfo.org. Reviving Pope’s Legacy Bicycle, Car King’s Namesake Hartford Park Getting An Overhaul. Accessed at http://www.hartfordinfo.org/issues/documents/parks/htfd_courant_080909.asp on August 26, 2010.
Osborn, Colonel N. G., Ed. Men of Mark in Connecticut: Ideals of American Life Told in Biographies and Autobiographies of Eminent Living Americans, Volume IV. The Clark, Lockwood & Brainard Companies, Hartford, CT., 1908. Accessed at http://books.google.com/books?id=Nv41YGdCFaoC&pg=PA1&lpg=PA1&dq=men+of+mark+in+connecticut+-+volume+IV&source=bl&ots=UtMzp_Odf8&sig=LV18giLGfnvgxqSHj6d2DMMLSnA&hl=en&ei=opN2TP2HE8L58AatneXNBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBUQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=men%20of%20mark%20in%20connecticut%20-%20volume%20IV&f=false on August 26, 2010.
Wikipedia. Pope Manufacturing Company. Accessed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Manufacturing_Company on August 26, 2010.
Photo Credit: Columbia Bicycles Poster, Public Domain