[CR]Columbus History from their website...

(Example: Framebuilders:Norman Taylor)

Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 16:09:40 -0700
From: "Chuck Schmidt" <chuckschmidt@earthlink.net>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Columbus History from their website...

1919: "I want to do business in iron and steel and make a fair and honest profit" wrote Angelo Luigi Colombo, aged 27, to the lessee of what was shortly to become A.L.Colombo's small factory, the parent plant of the current Columbus. Angelo Luigi had started work for a metallurgical factory in Milan when he was just 12 years old and, in 1919, after gaining sufficient experience, had decided to establish himself, seeing the cycling sector as fertile ground for the enormous innovative potential and obvious entrepreneurial vocation that inspired him. His first customers were mostly small manufactures obtaining supplies of metal tubes for saddle pillars, bent tubes for frames and handlebars, saddles and fork blades and tubes for pedals. Supplies were also aimed at the first leading cycling factories: Edoardo Bianchi, Umberto Dei, Giovanni Maino and Fratelli Doniselli. Five workers, an annealing furnace, a 10 tonne draw bench and a great desire for success: that was the first A.L.Colombo plant in via Stradella, Milan, 1,300 square metres to produce.

1931: With 10 draw benches, one fixed-hearth electric furnace, tanks and auxiliary equipment, the company was able to manufacture welded and seamless steel tubes used for the production of bicycles and motorcycles (Guzzi was winning on world circuits at the time with frames made of Colombo tubes), cars and airplanes. Cooperation with Gianni Caproni goes back to the period. Using Colombo tubes, the bearing frames of the aircraft of De Pinedo and Cesare Balbo were produced to make the first Atlantic Crossing. From the story of aviation to the story of modern furniture: Colombo starrted to produce rational, tubular furniture made of chrome steel. This proved to be a real commercial success, building an image which is today recognized among the design leaders. Colombo worked with the best rationalist architects at the time: Giuseppe Terragni, Giuseppe Pagano, Piero Bottoni, Mario Pucci andm Ercole Faccioli.

1950: A.L. Colombo became a joint-stock company and Colombo's son, Gilberto, joined the company. Appointed plant manager, Gilberto Colombo began designing car chassis, setting up the company Gilco whose customers include Maserati, Ferrari and Lancia. The passion of cycling throughout this context remained alive and strong, the ideal ground for experimenting in the mechanical and metallurgic field (the first news of coopertaion between A.L. Colombo and the Polythecnic of Milan goes back to 1935). The main prerogative was always the same: to market products of superior quality in terms of finish and precision, following and complying with customers' wishes, solving technical problems.

1977: It was Antonio Colombo, Angelo's youngest son, who made a simple mark, Columbus, into the leading company for the production of tubes for top-of-the range frames. Antonio left the position of Chairman of A.L.Colombo and separated Columbus from the parent company to concentrate on the production of bicycle tubes. The automobile and aeronautical experience provided an ideal support for the new company, Columbus S.r.l., and there have been constant innovations since it was set up: the steering column with a tapered screw was introduced and Cyclex steel was launched, specifically designed for cycling use, followed by Nivacrom, one of Columbus' greatest innovations. Patented by the company, this steel was produced in the laboratory with the aim of reducing the decline in the mechanical characteristics of the material during welding. The best designer worked with Antonio Colombo designing the new bicycle of the Eighties, the new mission of the new Columbus. Before making a series of 11 totally aerodynamic tubes (AIR, 1980) Columbus placed its experience at the service of Moser for its Time Trials records, then passing through Oersted and Rominger. MAX (1987) was the first tube-set to break tradition of conventional diameters (25.4 mm for the top tube and 28.6 mm for the down tube) with its 31.7 mm (top tube) and 35 mm (down tube). Max was a revolution in the frame construction system, allowing very tall or very heavy men to have a light but extremely strong frame and introduced the concept of oriented ellipses and differentiated sections, applied to each of the 11 tubes, to give the frame greater rigidity.

1991:The Genius tubing, made of Nivacrom steel, was an unprecedented success. For the first time in the history of cycling, the concept of "Differential Shape Butting" appeared, which only Columbus technology, now the master of the know-how connected with the strain of a frame could design. In 1994, to celebrate 110 years of Bianchi, Columbus strengthened the friendship that born between the fathers of the two companies, making MEGATUBE solely for the Treviglio company, the first oversize tube for high-performance, strong and light frames. Megatube has become a must and is now one of the strong points of the Milanese company, with more than 14 different shapes. In 1995, the Columbus adventure also began in the mountain bike sector with the OR tubing for Cinelli and the custom series for Tom Ritchey (the first fork blades with a variable thickness). With the CYBER tube set (1994), specifically for mtb use, with subsequent forms, and then with Genius mtb, Columbus began accumulating World Championship mtb victories: from Brentjens with American Eagle to Acquaroli with Bianchi, to the Sunn Team and their multi-medallists Vouilloz, Martinez and Chausson. The competitive sector is obviously not the least: from Coppi and Bartoli who were the first to use the Columbus tubes, passing through Merckx, Gimondi, Hinault, Lemond, Argentin, Fondriest, Chiappucci, Roche, Rominger, Pantani, Chioccioli, Armstrong, Rijs, Bartoli and Olano to Tonkov, Brochard, Zuelle and Virenque. NEMO emerged in 1996 and is the most sophisticated expression of cycling engineering: from a study on stress applied to the frame, produced using a portable recording system and with the subsequent FEM calculation (Finished Elements Measurement) the map of stresses in the frame and the ZBC technology (Zone Butted Concept) emerged. Reinforcements were located and adjusted to the actual work load.

1998: from Columbus S.p.A. to Columbus Division of Gruppo S.p.A.: it is the new image of the company that - from the historical plant in Milan in Via dei Pestagalli - has moved to Caleppio di Settala, together with Cinelli and 3T. Top-of-the-range frames production, customer oriented: Columbus designs and produces special solutions for its customers; production and design quality, technological innovation and creativity are the leading characteristics of the company. Today Columbus introduces Thermacrom the latest generation steel alloy. The future in bicycle frame manufacturing is here.

The new Gruppo plant is in Caleppio di Settala, a few kilometers from Milano Linate airport, 10 Km from the centre of Milan. The grounds extend over an area of more than 26,000 square metres, 8,000 of which are occupied by the plant while the offices are situated in a separate building. The Caleppio plant cooperates with the Mathi Canavese (TO) plant, where handlebars are produced.