|One of the primary steel bicycle tubing manufactures. Along with Reynolds and Vitus, they produced a large majority of the tubing used in bicycles produced in Europe and the U.S.
|From Columbus Website:
FROM BICYCLE FRAMES
TO FERRARI CHASSIS,
FURNITURE AND SKI-STICKS.
”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 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 his entrepreneurial vocation. His first customers were mostly small manufacturers but also leading cycling factories: Edoardo Bianchi, Umberto Dei, Atala, Giovanni Maino, and the Fratelli Doniselli.
Being aware of market movements, curious and highly motivated, Angelo Luigi brought the company through the Second World War and the revival, constantly developping his technological equipment, machinery and men, diversifying interests and production. In 1931, the company was able to manufacture welded and seamless steel tubes used for the production of bicycles motorcycles (Guzzi was winning with frames made of Colombo tubes), cars and aeroplanes. Cooperation with Gianni Caproni goes back to that period. Using Colombo tubes, the bearing frames of the aircraft of De Pinedo and Cesare Balbo were produced to make the first Atlantic crossings.
From the story of aviation to the story of modern furniture: again in the ‘30s, A.L. Colombo started to produce rational, tubular furniture made of chrome steel. This proved to be a real commercial success, which is recognized today among the design leaders. Still in the ‘30s, the first set of special tubes for bicycles were produced: Aelle, Tenax and Columbus.
Under the Columbus mark, the first reinforced tubes with a tapered thickness made of molybdenum chrome steel in the history of cycling appeared, as well as the first cold-rolled elliptical fork blades. With a broad sample collection in production (tubes for electrical equipment, ski-sticks, ship boiler vaporizers, tennis court poles, springs for cushions, car seats and mattresses, under the Igea-Columbus mark). Colombo laid down specific regulations in those years that have characterized the company’s entire history. In 1950 A.L. Colombo became a joint-stock company and Colombo’s son, Gilberto, joined the company. He began designing car chassis, setting up the company Gilco whose customers include Ferrari, Maserati and Lancia. Fangio, Ascari and Villoresi therefore raced in cars with Colombo chassis. The passion for cycling throughout this context remained alive and strong. It was Angelo’s youngest son, Antonio, however, who made a simple mark, Columbus, into the leading company for the production of tubes for top-of-the-range frames. Antonio Colombo joined the company while he was still studying law. In 1977, he left the position of Chairman of A.L. Colombo and separated Columbus from the parent company to concentrate on the production of bicycle tubes; 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. Before making a series of 11 totally aerodynamic tubes (AIR, 1980) Columbus placed its experience at the service of Moser for its Time Trial records, then passing through Oersted to Rominger. MAX (1987) was the first tube-set to break the tradition of conventional diameters. Max introduced the concept of orientated ellipses and differentiated sections, applied to each of the 11 tubes, to give the frame greater rigidity. The GENIUS (1991) 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.