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Colson bicycles originally came from a company started by Winslow Fay in Elyria, Ohio in the 1880’s. This company which sold tricycles for children and adults (particularly adults who were handicapped or couldn’t ride a normal bicycle very easily) and did so under the name “Fairy” was eventually sold out to Arthur Garford in 1891. After the sale Garford was the one who decided to hire a salesman by the name of Fred Colson which eventually led to the development of the Colson Bicycle company which was born in 1917 as a result of the merger of Fay, Fairy, and Worthington.
Bicycles built by the Colson Corporation were sold by a large variety of retailers from the year of 1917 when the company was merged until about 1953 and most of the bicycles that they sold carried the names of their respective retailers as opposed to the Colson brand name. The Firestone and the Goodyear were two of their biggest and most well know retailers and Colson even went so far as to make special models that they sold exclusively through these two retailers. The “Clipper” was one such model and it was sold as a Goodyear exclusive in 1941 however Colson did produce a model that was essentially the same bike that was available for purchase again after World War II that was sold under the Colson name. The Firestone Cruiser and Super Cruiser were also exclusive models sold under Firestone for just the year of 1941.
Eventually in 1954 Evans Products Company purchased the Colson Bicycle division and later the name was changed to Evans-Colson and then later it was simply Evans. Evans began to produce and offer bicycle under the Colson name that year when they bought out the division and continued to do so until 1962. Originally Evans was a manufacturer of mostly transportation related hardware such as utility vehicles, battery separators, heating unites, railroad car equipment and so on but they maintained the bicycle division for some time and continued to sell their bicycles under the brands of other retailers. Many plants were built for Evans spreading from Michigan all the way to Oregon and during their bicycle making period Evans even brought in automobile designer Harley Earl (who at the time headed the design department at GM) to breathe some new life into the Colson designs.
Colson had a large variety of models that came out and most of the well known ones were produced in 1954 such as the Cadet, the Clipper, the Commander, the Ding-Dong, the Firebird, the Fire Chief, the Firestone Cruiser (though this particular brand was made only in 1941 before the US entered World War II). They also had models that included the Imperial, the Interceptor, a Mickey Mouse model which was a tricycle design for young children featuring the beloved cartoon mouse on it’s front wheel, as well as the Olympic, the Scout, the Special, and the Super Cruiser which was the model paired with the Firestone cruiser that made it’s short debut prior to World War II.
While the Colson rebranded most of their bicycles collectors can still recognize them and they are often sought after as well loved pieces of history.