Albert Augustus Pope

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Albert Augustus Pope
Born (1843-05-20)May 20, 1843
Boston, Massachusetts
Died August 10, 1909(1909-08-10) (aged 66)
Lindermere-by-the-Sea, Cohasset, Massachusetts
Spouse(s) Abbie Linder
Signature Albert A Pope signature.png

Albert Augustus Pope (May 20, 1843 – August 10, 1909) was a Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel who founded the Pope Manufacturing Company in 1877.[1]


Pope was born on May 20, 1843 in Boston, Massachusetts.[1] In 1862 he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the 35th Massachusetts regiment, with which he continued until the close of American Civil War. He was mustered out as a Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel.[2]


He married September 20, 1871, Abbie Linder, daughter of George Linder and Matilda Smallwood, of Newton, Massachusetts, and they had four sons and one daughter.[3]


During the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition, Pope saw and became enthusiastic about bicycles. He began importing European Penny Farthings and taking out US patents on these European models. By the early 1890s, he had established a bicycle trust which controlled the central bicycle patents in the US. Nearly every US bicycle manufacturer paid Pope around $10 per bicycle. His bicycle brand was known as the Columbia. By the mid-1890s, at the height of the bicycle craze, Pope was manufacturing about a quarter million bicycles annually.[4]

The major problem for bicycles at this time was the lack of suitable roads on which to ride them. Pope being not only a bicycle manufacturer but a bicycle-riding enthusiast, was particularly troubled by this problem. He formed the League of American Wheelmen to agitate for and petition governments for improved roads.[4]

From 1896, he began to diversify into automobile production. The chief engineer of his Pope Motor Carriage department was Hiram Percy Maxim. In 1897, he renamed the Motor Carriage Department as the separate Columbia Automobile Company, which was spun off and sold to the Electric Vehicle Company, in which he was also an investor.[5]


In 1897, Pope Manufacturing began production of an electric automobile in Hartford, Connecticut.[6] By 1899, the company had produced over 500 vehicles. Hiram Percy Maxim was head engineer of the Motor Vehicle Department. The Electric Vehicle division was spun off that year as the independent company Columbia Automobile Company but it was acquired by the Electric Vehicle Company by the end of the year.[6]

Pope tried to re-enter the automobile manufacturing market in 1901 by acquiring a number of small firms, but the process was expensive and competition in the industry was heating up.

Between the years 1903 and 1915, the company operated a number of automobile companies including Pope-Hartford (1903-1914), Pope-Robinson, Pope-Toledo (1903-1909), Pope-Tribune (1904-1907) and Pope-Waverly.[7]

Pope declared bankruptcy in 1907[6] and abandoned the automobile industry in 1915.[8]

Pope is credited with being the first auto manufacturer to use mass production practices. In 1900 Pope's [Hartford] factories produced more motor vehicles than any other factory in the world.[9]

See also[edit]


He died on August 10, 1909.[1][10] He is buried in the Forest Hills Cemetery and Crematory in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.[11]


Following his death, some companies joined the United States Motor Company. Pope's empire collapsed in 1913. He founded Pope Park, Hartford, Connecticut and donated it to the City.


Pope companies[edit]

Pope motor vehicles[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Col. A.A. Pope Dies at Summer Home. Pioneer Bicycle Manufacturer's Health Failed Since His Company's Embarrassment. Won Honors in Battle. Once Organized an Artillery Regiment from Convalescent Camp and Occupied Two Forts.". New York Times. August 11, 1909. Retrieved 2008-04-25. "Albert A. Pope, the ... Augustus Pope was born in Boston on May 20, 1843. ..." 
  2. ^ "Albert Augustus Pope". Appleton's Cyclopedia. 
  3. ^ "Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Albert Augustus Pope, U.S.V.". All Biographies. Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-25. 
  4. ^ a b Flink, Automobile Age, chapter one.
  5. ^ Rae, "Electric Vehicle," 299-305
  6. ^ a b c David Corrigan. "The Columbia Cars Are Born". Hog River Journal - Exploring CT History. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  7. ^ "American Automobiles - Manufacturers". Farber and Associates, LLC - 2011. Retrieved August 28, 2011. 
  8. ^ Daniel Vaughan (Aug 2005). "1911 Pope-Hartford Model W news, pictures, and information". Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  9. ^ Norcliffe, Glen. "Popeism and Fordism: Examining the Roots of Mass Production". Depart ment of Geography, York University, North York, Ont ar io M3J 1P3, Canada. Retrieved 2012-04-30. 
  10. ^ "Death of Col. A.A. Pope. Pioneer Bicycle Maker Succumbs After Financial Reverses. Made Fortune in Manufacture of Wheels, but Auto Business Had Been in Difficulties Since Panic.". Washington Post. August 10, 1909. Retrieved 2008-04-25. "Col. Albert A. Pope, known as the father of bicycles in this country, and still more recently as one of the leading automobile manufacturers of the world, died at his summer home, Lindermere-by-the-Sea, late this afternoon. For more than a year Col. Pope had been in rather poor health, during the troubles of his bicycle and automobile enterprises, which were forced into the hands of a receiver not long after the panic." 
  11. ^ Snoots, Jen. "Find a Grave". Albert Augustus Pope (1843-1909). Retrieved 2012-04-30. 


  • Epperson, Bruce D. Peddling Bicycles to America. The Rise of an Industry. Jefferson, CT: McFarland & Co. 2010 (mainly on Pope)
  • Goddard, Stephen B. Colonel Albert Pope and His American Dream Machines: The Life and Times of a Bicycle Tycoon Turned Automotive Pioneer. Jefferson, CT: McFarland & Co., 2000
  • Rae, John B. "The Electric Vehicle Company: A Monopoly that Missed." Business History Review 29 (Dec., 1955): 298-311.
  • Flink, James J. The Automobile Age. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1988.

External links[edit]