Friday, February 15, 2008

Collier-Keyworth Cycles

A couple of years ago I got this picture in the mail from someone in England. Since the company I work for (at the moment) is named Collier-Keyworth, and the name on the tricycle is also Collier-Keyworth, he was wondering if I might have some information for him. I didn't, because CK was out of the bicycle business long before I was hired, 37 years ago. They were still making baby strollers, car safety seats (the first company to make them, I believe), and carriages, though. Chances are, if you were born before, say 1975, you spent some time in a CK stroller or carriage. They got out of that business too, in the '80's, concentrating on office furniture components. They were, in fact, the largest manufacturer of those components in the country at one time. I came across the picture while deleting things from my computer. While there is some wrangling going on over what is now happening to CK (the latest definition being shuffled around being "liquidated"), the bottom line is a company that in some way touched the lives of millions of Americans is going away, and because I still work there, I can't really say why. Jobs lost, lives disrupted, a profitable piece of American history going away... It's a shame.

If you are ever in Massachusetts, you might want to go here . There is an exhibit on CK, as well as the other manufacturers that made Gardner, MA, a very wealthy city, once. Too bad large corporations have no sense of the history they are entrusted with.

I had never really thought about the fact that I worked for a company that used to make bicycles, even though there was a failed attempt to re-enter the market in the 1970's. Kind of fitting. Maybe I should get the name and make bikes when this place is gone.

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