About Burning Man Bikes Contact Burning Man Bikes Bicycle History & Resources Carbon Counter Donate a Burning Man Bike
Used Bikes for Sale All Used Bikes for Sale Used Bikes for Sale
 
 
Used Bikes for Sale
ALL CITIES
Change City
Create NEW Account
Used Bikes for Sale



Schwinn Home

1880s-1908
1909-1930s
1930s-1941
1941-1949
1950-1959
1960-1970s
1970s-1975
1975-1982
1982-1987
1988-1995
Epilogue and Sources

Serial Numbers
Models
Head Badges

1949 Schwinn Head Badge
Re-Cycle.com
Re-Cycle.com
   Shop New & Used Parts
   Bikes
   Parts
   Wheels
   Tires/Tubes
   Accessories
   Clothing
   Helmets
   Shoes
   Car Racks
   Used
   Collectible


Re-Cycle.com Re-Cycle.com
Re-Cycle.com Re-Cycle.com

The Schwinn Brand


1941-1949
Previous - Next
In the months before Pearl Harbor (Dec 7, 1941) the Schwinn factory was already working under military contract making items unrelated to cycling. In 1942 Schwinn ceased commercial bicycle production all together (though the military ordered some 10,000 bicycles per year). Their reputation for innovation continued as they brought lessons learned during the lean times of WWII back to the bicycle industry following the war. In 1947, Schwinn produced 400,000 bicycles.

Another innovation of import came along during WWII, but not through the efforts of Arnold, Schwinn & Company. A small engineering company in L.A. put a little four-stroke engine on a heavy duty bicycle frame and called it the Whizzer. The motorized bicycle got 125 miles to the gallon and quickly became a popular mode of transportation for the gas conscious country. And it just so happened that Schwinn's patented cantilever frames gave the motors exactly the space they needed. By 1948 the little Whizzer was selling 200,000 units, many of which used Schwinn frames. It also happened that a certain Ray Burch was Vice President of the growing company.

Ignaz Schwinn died in 1948 of a stroke at the age of 88. He had stood at the helm of the great American bicycle company for more than 50 years. As sole owner of Arnold, Schwinn, & Company he was able to bequeath a 1/3 share of the dividends to Frank W. and each of his two daughters. But he left all shareholder powers to his firstborn son and indicated that Frank should do likewise.

In many ways 1948 was one of Schwinn's best years. It was the last year the Schwinn manufactured a bike for someone else to label. The Schwinn name stood for quality. Department stores sold toys. Each Schwinn came with a lifetime guarantee unlike anything else in the industry. Schwinn finally had the clout to walk away from the department stores entirely and seek out quality bicycle retailers. The move only strengthened the brand.

In 1950 one in every four bicycles sold in the U.S. was a Schwinn. Almost every movie, set in the 1950s and containing a bicycle, features a Schwinn bicycle. And if the director is particularly nostalgic, it's a Schwinn Black Phantom. The legendary Black Phantom was released in 1949 and represented the height of the children's luxury bicycle. It was the Cadillac of the bike world, but built like a tank and ready for curb jumping. Schwinn was producing 400,000 bicycles per year. As a private company, Schwinn was not obliged to make public its balance sheet, but former executives estimated sales in the area of $25 million a year, making Schwinn a respectable mid-size company in the 1950s.

But it wasn't easy. Walking out on department store distribution meant hawking bikes out of every outlet Schwinn could find: auto dealerships, gas stations, pool halls, and funeral parlors. Such fragmented distribution meant that Schwinn still had almost no say in how their bikes were sold, how customer complaints were handled, or how many models a seller carried. With 15,000 outlets, monitored salesmanship was a pipedream...until George Garner got out of the Marines (more on Garner later).

Previous - Next
Re-Cycle.com Re-Cycle.com
Used Bikes for Sale

Copyright 2016 Re-Cycle.com | Used Bikes For Sale