1874 - 1903: The Formative Years



Charles Jeremiah Smith establishes  C. J. Smith - Machinist, a small machine shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, producing metal parts for baby carriages and other hardware specialties. He later changed the name to C. J. Smith and Sons, after three of his sons joined the firm.




C. J. Smith and Sons enter the bicycle industry by introducing the concept of forming steel tubing from sheet metal, an innovation was later employed in making bicycle frames. By 1895, the Company was the largest U.S. bicycle parts manufacturer, eventually becoming the largest in the world. 



 Arthur O. Smith, a son of the founder, develops the world’s first pressed steel automobile frame, a lighter, more cost-effective alternative to existing frames. 



C. J. Smith and Sons receives its first order of auto frames from Peerless Car Company, with others from Cadillac, Packard and Oldsmobile to follow.