Believe or not, bicycle manufacturers were major, or at least significant, employers in the US until World War II.
I’m not talking only about Schwinn. A few years ago, I wrote about the Shelby Bicycle Company, which took its name from the Ohio community in which it was based.
Another example of such a relationship between a town and a bike-maker is that of Emblem Bicycles and Angola, a New York Stare village 3.3 kilometers (2 miles) from Lake Erie and 50 kilometers (22 miles) from downtown Buffalo.
Unless you are even deeper than I am into pre-War bikes, you probably haven’t heard of Emblem bicycles. Apparently, they began making bikes during the first Bike Boom in the late 19th Century and continued until the eve of World War II. During the 1910s, Emblwm, like some other bike-makers, began to make motorcycles, which hadn’t evolved into their own category. As a matter of fact, Emblem, like other fabricators of two-wheeled vehicles, were identified—and identified by the public—as a bicycle company even when their production of motorized bikes exceeded that of traditional pedaled bicycles.
So, yesterday, when a fire burned in the historical building that the company called home, local media reports identified it as the “historic Emblem Bicycle building “—even though Emblem bicycles haven’t been made there, or anywhere, in about 80 years.
Two dozen fire companies fought and contained the blaze. Fortunately, no one was hurt.