Bicycling | Bicycle Manufacturers
Gormully & Jeffery Mfg. Co.—Makers of the “Rambler” bicycles. R. Philip Gormully, president and treasurer; Thos. B. Jeffery, secretary and superintendent. Works located on North Franklin and Pearson streets; retail salesroom at 85 Madison street; has branch houses in New York, Boston and Washington. Established in 1879.
Gormully & Jeffery Co., 1890
North Franklin and Pearson streets
This concern from a small beginning now ranks as one of the leaders in its particular line, the value of their immense plant mounting well up into six figures. It is the second oldest bicycle institution in this country, was the first in the West and also the very first in America, with sufficient faith in what, less than eight years ago, seemed a very precarious industry, to erect and equip a factory specially for the manufacture of bicycles. It is also largely through its efforts that the trade has assumed the proportions of to-day, as they resisted the demand for payment of royalty, which was levied by the holder of the original license, and after a long and expensive legal fight, ending in the supreme court of the U. S., they secured a verdict on each and every point raised. The decision threw the doors open and the bicycle industry, along with the Gormully & Jeffery Co., has since gone on and flourished.
The company was sold to the American Bicycle Company in 1900. Thomas B. Jeffery sold it to focus on the Rambler automobile. After receiving positive reviews at the 1899 Chicago International Exhibition & Tournament and the first National Automobile Show in New York City, Jeffery decided to enter the automobile business. In 1900, he bought the old Sterling Bicycle Co. factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and set up shop.
Jeffery started commercially mass-producing automobiles in 1902 and by the end of the year had produced 1,500 motorcars, one-sixth of all existing in the USA at the time. The Thomas B. Jeffery Company was the second largest auto manufacturer at that time, (behind Oldsmobile).
Gormully and Jeffery Bicycle Catalog, 1890
Gormully and Jeffery Bicycle Advertisement, 1886
The Rambler was the most popular auto developed in Chicago. More than 4.2 million were sold between 1902 and their discontinuance in 1969 by the successor American Motors Corporation. As the twentieth century ended, the Rambler factory in Kenosha was used to build engines for Chrysler Corporation autos.