There is no institution in its corporate limits of which Bay Cityans are prouder than the National Cycle factory. Nearly every city of any consequences in the country has its cycle factory, but few equal the Bay City plant in the quality of work turned out. When the wheel craze swept over the country, several years ago, Bay City was affected. Realizing that the wheel had come to stay, Henry B. Smith, of the Michigan Pipe Co, consulted with several other gentlemen about the matter, and they reached the conclusion that a bicycle factory would be a good source of revenue. Accordingly the National Cycle Mfg Co was formed, with Mr. Smith as president. A large factory was constructed and equipped with machinery for turning out up-to-date wheels. It was the determination of the projectors to make a wheel that should win for itself a reputation from the start, and that they succeeded is demonstrated by the rapid rise in popular favor the National. The factory has been kept abreast of the times in the matter of machinery, and every device calculated to improve the wheels is added as soon as its utility is established.
Today the National is a standard wheel, recognized by the crack riders as one of the very best in the market. Many world’s records have been broken by National riders, and its fame has not only spread all over the United States, but to other countries, and the National is now known wherever wheels are used. It is the proud boast of the company that a National rider never changes his mount, and this is borne out by the steady volumes of praise that are poured in from those who have the good fortune to take a spin on one of these silent steeds.
When Colonel Pope formed the Trust in 1899, National Cycle Mfg Co was one of the few companies that refused to join. Thgey proudly proclaimed in their advertising: ‘Not in a Trust.’ The company survived the downfall in sales caused by the advent of motorcycles, eventually selling its factory to Chevrolet in 1916.
1905 National Cushion Frame Spring Fork Chainless
This machine combines the three main innovations of the day: chainless drive, cushion rear suspension and – unusually – a springing mechanism for the front fork hidden inside the headstock. Such a combination of features was not usually an arrangement for a normal sales bicycle. Such machines were built for display purposes in shops and exhibitions, or ordered specially for rich customers, often racing cyclists who were expected to ride something out of the ordinary.