The Saturday Video: Columbia Bicycles, The Early Years

By February 25, 2006Cool Stuff Being Made

patagonia As long-time blog readers know (heck, we’ve only been around 15 months, but it seems like a lifetime to most of you, no doubt), the NAM had a weekly TV show in the 50’s called, “Industry on Parade“. It was billed as “a pictorial reviews of events in business and industry.” Anyone of a certain vintage remembers it well. It was the 50’s version of “Cool Stuff Being Made“, showing each week — in black and white, of course — a few products being made. It was an enormously popular show.

We have acquired a bunch of the old shows from the Smithsonian, where they now reside. They are way cool, and some are pretty funny. All have the soaring music at the front, the all-too-serious (if not urgent-sounding) narrator and the tacky soundtrack that never stops. It’s very kitschy, very retro, and very fun. We’ve posted a few before on Saturday. We always said it was the marriage of the Saturday video and the former Wednesday Poster of the Week. (We kinda ran out of posters, by the way. Only had so many).

So here’s a 6-minute video of the Westfield (Mass.) Manufacturing Company, makers of the Columbia bicycle, “bringing health and pleasure to millions of Americans.” Indeed. Click here to feel the vintage manufacturing vibe.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • roger cortis says:

    I JUST WANTED TO SAY THANKS THAT WAS A GREAT VIDEO.IM RESEARCHING THE HISTORY ON THE HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET.I BOUGHT IT FROM MY GRANDFATHER THAT OWNED IT 30 YEARS BEFORE ME.IN THE VIDEO I COULD SEE A PIECE OF MY YARD I FOUND IT VERY COOL.MY HOUSE SERVED AS A SMALL STORE AND RESTERAUNT FOR COLUMBIA BIKES.IF AT ALL YOU CAN HELP ME FIND ANY HISTORY ON MY HOUSE PLEASE EMAIL ME AT KINGBASSFISHERMAN@COMCAST.NET THANX GREAT MOVIE!!!!

  • Greg Valent says:

    Loved the Columbia Bicycle clip. To expand on the previous comment. Bicycles like those in the film, department store bikes let’s call them, may never be made in this country again. But, the US is a hub for higher end bikes, the ones that demand an extremely skilled labor force. Trek, Cannondale, Waterford. They may not produce hundreds of thousands a year, but, what is produced are among the finest, and not the most expensive, bicycles in the world.
    Also, disconcerting and saddening to see the clip end with the visit to DeSoto. Early in the century, the auto caused the demise of the bicycle as basic transportation, yet, DeSoto went under also.

  • bikecg says:

    It is a sad note to think that most of what I have seen in this clip will never be made in this country again ….other than beer.

  • fixedgear says:

    Thanks, this made my day. This is right up there along with “How Investment Castings Are Made.” Excellent.