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Fascinating facts about Ignaz Schwinn
inventor of the Schwinn bicycle in 1895.
Ignaz Schwinn
AT A GLANCE:
On October 22, 1895
Ignaz Schwinn, with his financial partner Adolph Arnold, incorporated "Arnold, Schwinn & Company". Within a few short years of its creation, the company became an acknowledged technical and quality leader of the American bicycle industry Now more than 100 years later, Schwinn has become an American icon and built some of the best-known and best-loved bicycles of all time
THE STORY
RELATED INFO
BOOKS
VIDEOS
WEB SITES
WHERE TO FIND
QUOTATIONS
HOW IT WORKS
DID YOU KNOW?
Inventor: Ignaz Schwinn
Ignaz Schwinn portrait courtesy Schwinn Bike
Criteria: Modern prototype. Entrepreneur.
Birth: 1860 in Hardheim, Germany
Death: 1948 in Chicago, Illinois
Nationality: German
Invention: Schwinn Bicycle in 1895
Schwinn bicycle photo courtesy Schwinn Bike
Function: noun / safe bicycle
Definition: The Schwinn bicycles have all the right stuff- balloon tires, chrome fenders and horn, tank, whitewall tires, head and tail lights, spring fork, deluxe saddle, and more.
Patent: Over 40 patents were issued to Schwinn for bike improvements.
Milestones:
1860 Ignaz Schwinn born in Hardheim, Germany
1891 Ignaz moves to the United States
1895 Ignaz and partner Adolph Arnold form the Arnold, Schwinn & Company to build bicycles
1933 Schwinn introduces the balloon tire. Two years later, it became the standard of the industry.
1946 Schwinn introduces built-in kickstands
1948 Ignaz Schwinn dies in Chicago, Illinois
1949 The famous Schwinn Black Phantom is introduced
1952 Schwinn begins an "Authorized Dealer Network"
1963 Schwinn introduces the Sting-Ray, with high-rise handlebars, banana seat, and Stick-Shift
1965 Schwinn introduces the first in-home workout machines.
1967 Arnold, Schwinn & Company becomes the "Schwinn Bicycle Company"
1993 Schwinn files for bankruptcy
1998 The Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycle is re-introduced to wide market acceptance
2001 Pacific Cycle, Inc buys the Schwinn company
2004 Dorel Industries Inc. purchases Schwinn's parent company, Pacific Cycle
The Story:
 

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INFORMATION:
Invention of the Schwinn Bicycle   from The Great Idea Finder
The Entrepreneur   from The Great Idea Finder

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Toys!: Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson, Laurie Keller  / Hardcover - 128 pages  / Henry Holt & Company (2000)
The quirky tales behind more than two dozen novelties, gadgets and games, from seesaws to Silly Putty and toy soldiers to Trivial Pursuit.
Schwinn Bicycles
by Jay Pridmore, Jim Hurd / Paperback: 160 pages / Motorbooks International (January 2002)
German immigrant Ignaz Schwinn launched the company that bears his name in 1895 and set the bicycling standard in the U.S. for decades.

Schwinn Sting-Ray (Limited Availability)
by Liz Fried / Paperback: 96 pages / Van der Plas Publications (August 1997)
This book contains every thing there is to know about the Sting ray. Great pics. and excellent reading. Liz was the Vice Prez. of Schwinn when he developed the sting ray.

No Hands: The Rise and Fall of the Schwinn Bicycle Company: An American Institution (Limited Availability)
by Judith Crown, Glenn Coleman (Contributor) / Hardcover: 350 pages(October 1996)
Schwinn Bicycle Co., which owned the children's market, failed to grasp the transformation and tumbled from dominance to bankruptcy.

The Birth of Dirt: Origins of Mountain Biking
by Frank J. Berto, Wende Cragg, Erik Koski / Paperback: 128 pages / Van Der Plas Pubns (1998)

This book traces the origins of mountain biking and the invention and development of the mountain bike. Illustrated with many original photographs and other period documents, it is based on interviews with all the early riders and builders of the first mountain bikes.


ON THE WEB:

Schwinn Bike
Official Web site of Schwinn Bicycle. Heritage of their product evolution and a section where you can buy bikes and parts.
(URL: www.schwinnbike.com/heritage/index.php)
Schwinn Bicycle Company Timeline
Over 100 Years of Schwinn
(URL: www.schwinnbike.com/heritage/timeline.php)
Fun on Wheels
From the Chicago Historical Society the birthplace of Schwinn bikes.
(URL: www.chicagohs.org)

Motor Bike Hall of Fame
For over fifty years a new American safety bicycle was pioneered, engineered and improved to the high place of the standards set by the Schwinn Built Bicycle. Ignaz was also involved in pioneer development of the automobile and he loved the motorcycle. After founding the Excelsior Motor Manufacturing Company in 1913, he created the Schwinn De Luxe Henderson and Excelsior motorcycles.
(URL: www.mtnbikehalloffame.com/inductees.cfm?page=99&mID=56)
Schwinn Family Bicycle Collection Sale
It truly was the end of an era on the afternoon of April 6, 1997 when the last vestiges of the Schwinn family bicycle collection went on the block at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago, Illinois. Article by Lori Gray
(URL: www.maineantiquedigest.com/articles/schw797.htm )
Schwinn Sting-Ray
Web site dedicated to the Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycle
(URL: www.schwinnstingray.com/pr_schwinn_history.html) .
Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
A good site for learing the hows and whys of bike safety, not just bike helmets>
(URL: www.bhsi.org)

DID YOU KNOW?:

  • In 1896 there are 300 bicycle companies in the US (101 in Chicago, alone).
  • Bicycles ranged in price from $100 to $125 and in weight from 19 to 24 pounds!
  • In 1892 a racing bicycle cost $150 ($27,450 in today's dollars).
  • Built-in kickstands and new styled drop-outs developed during the World War II, now improve post-war bikes
  • Schwinn's bankruptcy and buy-out in 1993, which Schwinn's web site describes quite succinctly: "1993. Schwinn files for bankruptcy. New management takes over. We fell, we got up. End of apology."
Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type. This page revised January 25, 2007.
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