- - - -
INDUSTRIES - - -
- IDEAL BICYCLES
- Manufactured in Shelby.
- Received With Marked Comment
- Even by Competitors.
- Already Shipments Have Been
- Made to Foreign Countries.
- Factory Overrun With Orders,
- and Already Have All the
- Goods Sold They Can
- Make This Year.
- So starts an article
that appeared in the April 10, 1896 edition of the Shelby Republican
newspaper. The infant Shelby business was further described as
- In the Shelby Cycle Manufacturing
Company, Shelby can boast of not only having Ideal Bicycles made,
but also in having an Ideal Factory. The company is controlled
by R. Philip Gormully, President; Thos. B. Jeffery, Vice President;
and A. W. Gump, Treasurer and General Manager. The above parties
have been in the bicycle business upwards of seventeen years,
and as they were formerly associated in a business way the venture
is not a new one.
- Possession of the building was
taken by The Cycle Co. last September, and already over three
hundred hands are employed, and everything is in first class
running order with the large out-put daily increasing.
- Shelby Cycle Manufacturing
Company - 1896
- (Artist's Conception
- Blackburn & Co., Dayton, Ohio )
- The Shelby Republican
Newspaper, April 10, 1896
- The artist's conception
drawing above (looking north) shows both the C. C. C. & St.
Louis Railroad as well as the B & O. As can be readily seen,
many liberties were taken...
- The Shelby Cycle
Co. building was located on the north side of Smiley Avenue between
the B & O Railroad on the east and the Black Fork River on
the west. The building location is shown in the vintage map
section (at the bottom
of this section of the 1896 Shelby map).
- The arrangements have been completed
so quietly that few, not seeing the inside of the factory then
and now, would know of the great amount of work that has been
accomplished and the immense outlay necessary to make a succesful
bicycle factory. New floors were laid, building remodeled, a
large stock of new machinery of latest pattern put in, line shafting,
belting elevator, enameling ovens, boilers, artificial gas, electric
light and steam heating plants and many other appliances, and
all to be put in order in time to turn out goods for this season's
- The success of the factory was
assured from the start, however, for although the plant was new,
the work was in the hands of pioneers in the cycle business.
- 1000 Bicycles.
- The first order received by our
new Cycle Factory was for one thousand bicycles from Mr. Thos.
Varney, of San Francisco, Cal. Mr. Varney is known as having
the finest retail bicycle store in the world.
- The Shelby Cycle Co. have also
recently made a shipment to British Columbia.
- Artificial Gas Plant.
- The Shelby Cycle Mfg. Co., besides
having their own electric light plant, have also their own artificial
gas plant. This is used for brazing, annealing and enameling
purposes, and can be used for illuminating when necessary.
- Light Out of Darkness.
- Railroad passengers and citizens
of Shelby note particularly the brilliant display of electric
light at the works of the Shelby Cycle Mfg. Co. On dark nights
especially do the lights, streaming from the many windows, form
a fairy picture of beauty and activity. It is nessary to work
an extra force of men all night to meet the demand for Ideal
- Scarcity of Houses.
- On account of the scarcity of
dwelling houses in Shelby, A. W. Gump has purchased thirty acres
of land just back of his residence on Marvin Avenue. Houses will
be erected on this ground especially, for the accomodation of
workmen at the Cycle Factory. Forty-two lots have already been
platted, and quite a number of houses are almost completed. They
will be sold on long payments to parties who prefer to purchase
instead of renting.
- The Gump land
purchase and more specifically the building lots mentioned in
the article (above) included thirty four lots that are located
on Jeffrey Avenue and an additional eight lots that faced West
Smiley (on the north side). They can also be seen in the vintage
map section. On the
map it is labelled "Gump's Add."
- The Shelby Cycle Manufacturing
Co., are now making seven different styles of Bicycles. Their
No. 1 Ideal, $75.00; their High Frame Ideal, $75.00; a 26 inch
Diamond, $50.00; a ladies 28 inch Drop Frame, $75.00; a ladies
26 inch Drop Frame, $50.00; a 28 inch Diamond Frame, $50.00;
and a 28 inch ladies wheel, $50.00. The Shelby Cycle Co., will
not sell any wheels at retail at all, and all their retail trade
will be through the hands of Seltzer
& Steele who have the local agency. (see 1 bottom of page)
- The following
year the Shelby Republican newspaper produced an "Industrial
Edition" and the following are selected portions from that
Shelby Cycle Manufacturing
One of Shelby's Great
- It is wonderful with what facility
the American people grasp an idea and carry it into execution.
The incentive of business is one of those uncontrollable elements
which decide the course of all business transactions. This accounts
for the rapid execution of any project, or the carrying out of
any plans, the ultimate result of which will prove profitable
for the projectors.
- Perhaps in recent years there
is no branch of industry which has had such abnormal growth,
such huge expansion, such great development as the bicycle industry.
It is now one of the great industries of the country, employing
thousands of skilled workmen and representing many millions of
capital. The product annually turned out is appalling considered
from a standpoint of dollars and cents, and the need of that
product by the human family so apparent that it can now be safely
regarded as one of the fixed institutions of the land. Shelby
has become justly famous in many ways, but in no one thing is
our fame greater than in the line of bicycle making. Every Shelbyite
is proud of the Shelby Cycle Manufacturing Company, an institution
whose product is sold in nearly every mart of the civilized world.
- Shelby Cycle Manufacturing
Company - 1897
- Artist's Conception
- The Shelby Republican newspaper Industrial Edition, 1897
- This institution was organized
in September of 1895 and the first Ideal bicycles manufactured
January 1st, 1896. The location of this great institution at
this point is due to A. W. Gump and the Gurmelly, Jeffery Mfg.
Co., of Chicago.
- Mr. Gump, who had been in the
bicycle trade in Dayton for eighteen years previous to coming
to this city, had more or less business relations with the Gormully,
Jeffery Mfg. Co. and at one of the cycle shows Mr. Gormully stated
that if Mr. Gump found a factory his concern would take very
largely of the stock, providing a medium grade wheel was manufactured
to supply the increasing demand for a cheaper wheel than the
Rambler. Shortly after this their present plant was secured and
the manufacture of wheels begun. The first year's output consisted
of 10,000 wheels and this large number of bicycles was completely
sold out. This year the company has been turning out 100 wheels
a day and under pressure is capable of making 200 bicycles every
twenty - four hours. The company have on their payroll three
hundred and fifty men, an item of much importance to any community
whose prosperity is dependent on manufacturing enterprises.
- The works are divided into eighteen
departments as follows: enamelling, wheel building, hub and automatic
machinery, frame filing, fork sides, frame building, brazing,
tool room, pedals, lathe and machinery, polishing, nickeling,
experimenting, assembling, buffing, and shipping, each of which
is in charge of a competent foreman.
- Shelby Cycle Company
- Members of the Ideal Bicycle Assembly Department - 1896
- Photo courtesy of Casey
- If you would like
to "see" the photo in greater detail, click on the
photo directly above.
- This is an extremely
sharp photo and perhaps you may recognize an ancestor or two.
If so, please contact us and we'll post your information on this
- Albert Thompson, one of the best
factory organizers in the country, is superintendent and Edmund
Bury, a thoroughly skilled mechanic, assistant foreman. In this
connection, we wish to say a few words about Ideal wheels, a
product which has gained almost instant recognition from the
public. Last year the factory did not get started until late
in the season, but notwithstanding this fact their entire output
of 10,000 wheels were sold without advertising. This fact alone
is a monument to the worth of Ideal wheels. It stands out prominently
as an argument for the superior merit of the Ideal which no influence
- Ideal wheels are medium priced
machines. They range in price from $50.00 to $75.00 for adults
and $35.00 up in juvenile. Without excepting the higher priced
machines there is no better wheel made in the country than the
Ideal. In workmanship, beauty of construction, symmetry, character
of material used and finish, the Ideal wheel recognizes no superior
- in fact it has none.
- To those interested we suggest
that they send to the Shelby Cycle Mfg. Co. for their '97 catalogue. (see 2 below)
- Ideal Bicycle
Advertisement c. 1900 - courtesy of Kim Heuberger
The Shelby Republican
Newspaper, April 10, 1896
- 2. The Shelby
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interested in adding to, or commenting on the items on this page,
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