Ignaz Schwinn is born
Ignaz Schwinn is born in the little town of Hardherim in the providence of Baden, Germany where he apprenticed as a machinist and worked on early bicycles of the time. Ignaz immigrated to the United States in 1891 to pursue his dreams.
Arnold, Schwinn & Company is founded in Chicago, IL
After moving to Chicago, Ignaz Schwinn works for several bicycle enterprises before meeting Adolf Arnold. They set up their own bicycle factory and produce “World Bicycles,” the official trade name for early Schwinn bicycles.
History is made on a Schwinn
Cyclist Major Taylor rides a Schwinn to become the first world champion African-American professional cyclist. A few years later, paced by a locomotive, Mile-a-Minute Murphy is the first man to go 60 mph by bicycle.
Motorcycles in Vogue
Schwinn buys Excelsior Motor Cycle Company, investing in internal combustion engines while waiting out the “bicycle bust” of the era. In 1917 Schwinn invests in the Henderson MotorCycle Company. This venture inspired some of Schwinn’s most famous bicycle designs, including the Motorbike in 1920.
Schwinn Quality Seal
Schwinn creates a new department comprised of bicycle and motorcycle engineers to improve quality and appearance. Schwinn becomes the standard for innovation in the industry, developing mudguards, the cyclelock, the Fore-wheel brake, Cantilever Frame, and the “Spring Fork.” They sealed the quality in with the first appearance of the Schwinn Quality Seal.
A Road Icon is Born
In 1941, French racer Alfred Letourner sets the speed record for fastest mile on a bicycle at 108.92 mph on a Paramount bicycle.
Schwinn Responds to the Call
Schwinn produces military items in World War II, including top-secret electrical devices, shells, ammunition, plane parts, and numerous other items. Wartime innovation lead the way to post-war improvements for bikes, including built-in kickstands and new styled drop-outs.
The Schwinn Black Phantom is introduced as the top of the balloon tire line. Other icons of the era include the Schwinn Panther, Autocycle, Hollywood, and Starlet. The bikes were built with all the right stuff -- chrome fenders and horn, tank, whitewall tires, head and tail lights, spring fork, deluxe saddle, and more. Flashy and fun, these bikes would become icons of the 50’s in America.
Dealer Network Shapes Bicycle Shopping in the US
In 1952 to Schwinn meets the market need of the consumer by developing an Authorized Schwinn Dealer Network, allowing Schwinn to help consumers more directly and expand the genuine parts and accessories program.
Stars Choose Schwinn
Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Ronald Reagan and all the stars of Hollywood’s “golden era” hop on Schwinn bikes for the iconic 1955 Schwinn catalog, inspiring riders from around the nation to choose Schwinn. Fans could even request a free folder with posters of the stars riding Schwinn bicycles.
The Sting-Ray Ushers in a New Era
Muscle-car style and bicycle design are combined to create Schwinn’s most celebrated model of all time: the Sting-Ray. It featured high-rise handlebars, banana seat, stick shift, and a racing Slick tire. Within one year, the Sting-Ray would sell over 45,000 units, leading to the introduction of the Sting-Ray Krates. The Sting-Ray series would quickly became the bike to have and came to embody a childhood rite of passage for a generation.
BMX is in Full Craze
The BMX craze is at full tilt. Extreme sports are becoming popular, and there is a seemingly endless appetite for all things rad. Meeting the aesthetic of the era, Schwinn releases the Predator – a gleaming chrome BMX-style bike with an aggressive style -- and starts an official Schwinn BMX Factory team.
In a secret effort known as “Project Underground,” Schwinn develops a high-tech, lightweight line of mountain bikes: The Homegrown Series. Made in the U.S., the Homegrown Series features a radical new suspension system with an isolated drivetrain.
A recyclable bike is introduced
The Schwinn Vestige is a commuter bike with an eco-twist. Its organic, recyclable Flax fiber provides a similar performance benefits as a carbon fiber frame, but its construction process produces a much lower carbon footprint.
Kids Bikes Are Redesigned
With kids in mind, Schwinn develops a better fitting bike for their youngest riders. With a better fit, kids who start out on a Schwinn SmartStart bicycle experience a more stable and comfortable ride. This facilitates a quick journey to bike mastery and many happy memories of learning to ride.
Schwinn partners with Stranger Things to release “Mike’s Bike.” All 500 units sell out in one week through call in orders to 1-800-SCHWINN.
Schwinn Goes Electric
Schwinn joins the movement with a line of electric bikes for every type of rider.
Schwinn Partners with Together We Rise
Schwinn and Together We Rise join together to help children in foster care gain access to a bicycle. Every bicycle donation ensures a child gains a sense of freedom, a means of transportation, and lifelong memories. In 2020, Schwinn and Together We Rise hope to help over 10,000 youth in foster care get access to a bicycle.