In Cars

After serving in the Civil War, Albert Augustus Pope organized in 1879 a company to manufacture bicycles, a venture which was to earn for him the title “the founder of American bicycle industries”. Following his highly successful bicycle ventures, Pope began to manufacture electric runabouts through the Columbia Electric Company in 1896. Within a few years, he controlled the Pope-Toledo, Pope-Hartford, and Pope-Waverly Companies.

The Pope-Toledo was the star of the Pope empire. It was the successor to the Toledo built by the International Motor Car Co, that firm having also been part of the Pope empire.

Thew new model was unveiled for the 1904 model year. On the West Coast, in November of 1903, a stock four-cyinder 24-hp model was entered in numerous events in both San Francisco and Los Angeles – and won most of them, sometimes defeating such formidable foreign competition as Mercedes and Mors.

From 1905 the company offered only big, four-cylinder models.

It was the year when Pope-Toledo appeared at the Gordon Bennett Cup with two cars:

  • One was entered by the factory, driven by Herbert Lytle
  • Another one was built for W.T. Muir of Lexington, KY who contracted Albert Francis Digley to drive the car, with J.T. Tattersall as his mechanic.

The Automobile offered a description of the car, which was entered by the factory: “In the construction of this car the Pope Motor Car Company has spared neither time nor expense in making it as nearly perfect as possible. An aluminum hood hides the engine from the eyes of the curious. Aluminum also enters into the construction of the body. The machine complete weighs exactly 2150 pounds (975 kg).
The engine is of the four-cylinder type, and is said to develop 50 horsepower. The size of the cylinders is a factory secret and will not be made public. The wheelbase is 102 inches, and the tread 54 inches. The wheels are 34 by 4 inches. Nickel steel is largely used in the construction, the crankshaft being of this material one and three-quarter inches in diameter, and hollow. The change speed is of sliding gear type, and the drive by side chains. The gasoline tank has a capacity for 200 miles (320 km). This car will be driven by Herbert H. Lyttle. He will be assisted by William Knipper, mechanician”.

The company folded in 1908


  • Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1805-1942. Krause Publications, 1989
  • American Auto History
  • The Automobile, 1905 issues

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