Tag Archive: columbia automobiles

Col. Albert Augustus Pope (1843 – 1909) founded the Pope Manufacturing Company in 1878 to manufacture and sell bicycles. His bicycles were branded as Columbia and one of the first bicycle was the Columbia High-wheeler.

Pope was an innovator and was credited with using ball bearings and hollow steel tubes in his bicycles. He bought Pierre Lallement’s patent and started manufacturing ‘true” bicycles.

In order to control the bicycle market, Pope bought almost all the patents related to bicycles and was manufacturing close to quarter million bicycles by 1900. Apart from that he was earning $10 per bicycle of other manufacturers as royalty.

In 1898 , to further strengthen his hold over the bicycle market , he bought more than 50 independent manufacturers and created the American Bicycle Company. He also acquired the Gormully patent from Thomas B Jeffery of Rambler.

As  gasoline engines were becoming popular, Pope expanded in to Motorcycles also. A 1914 Pope Motorcycle –

Pope began experimenting with Automobiles in 1896 and one of the first venture was with electric vehicles. Many prototypes were made and tested. In 1899 , Pope founded the Columbia Automobile Company along with Electric Vehicle Company to manufacture Electric vehicles under the Columbia brand.  Later in 1899 , due to differences in opinion between the two companies  Pope sold off his stake in Columbia Automobile Company to Electric vehicle Company.

After his exit from Columbia Automobile Company , Pope entered the Automobile business with a series of acquisitions starting 1903. He acquired many Automobile companies under his new company – Pope Automobiles.

  • Pope – Hartford
  • Pope – Robinson   (From Robinson Motor Vehicle Company)
  • Pope – Toledo
  • Pope – Tribune
  • Pope – Waverly  (From Crawford bicycle Company)

Some of the cars of Pope acquisition

A 1904 Pope – Hartford

A 1902 Pope – Robinson

A 1907 Pope – Toledo

A 1904 Pope – Tribune

A 1905 Pope – Waverly Electric

Due increasing competition and dropping prices , Pope Automobiles could not keep pace and was finally bankrupt and closed in 1915.

The Pope & Columbia Logo –



Andrew Lawrence Riker (1868 – 1930) of America started experimenting with electric motors and electric vehicles in 1884 at the age of 16. After completing his studies , in 1887 , he made the first electric tricycle by converting a mechanical tricycle. Riker Electric Motor Company was formed in 1888.
In 1894 , he constructed his first electric four-wheeler by joining 2 bi-cycles, fitting electric motors to rear wheels and housing the batteries below the seat.
Riker Electric Motor Vehicle Company was formed in 1899 and many models of Riker electric cars and trucks were made. Some of the well known models were –

Riker realized that the best way to promote his cars is through racing and in 1901 he constructed the Riker Torpedo and raced to speed record of 57.1 mph in an electric car . The record stood for more than 10 years
Riker Electric Motor Vehicle Co. was taken over by Electric Vehicle Company in 1901. In 1902, Columbia Automobiles and Electric Vehicle Company merge and the Riker brand slowly disappeared. In 1910 , the United States Motor Company was formed and Columbia Automobiles becomes one of  the constituents of US Motor Company. US Motor company later on evolves as Chrysler Motors.
Andrew Riker left Riker Electric Motor Vehicle Co in 1901 and joined Locomobile company and was involved in designing and developing Gasoline automobiles for Locomobile co. In 1905 , Andrew Riker was elected as the first President of SAE.