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Murray Bicycle History

Murray Models

Murray was a direct competitor to Huffy. They were generally low cost and low quality department store bikes intended for kids. If you didn’t learn to ride on a Huffy or a Murray, your parents had more money than mine.

Murray Ohio Manufacturing Company of Cleveland, Ohio was founded as an automobile parts manufacturer in 1919. Murray did not begin bicycle production until the 1930s. All of Murray’s early products were sold to retailers who put their own brand names on the products (Sears). But in 1939, the Mercury line was born. (wikipedia.org)

The Mercury was created by the prolific American industrial designer Viktor Schreckengost (wapedia.mobi/en/Murray_(bicycles)). Following in the deluxe footsteps of the Schwinn Phantom and styled after the streamline and art deco movements, the Mercury featured polished chrome, giant tires, lights, and about 50 pounds of American steel.

In 1941 Murray’s rise to the top of the deluxe bicycle market was halted by America’s foray into World War II. All civilian bicycle production came to a stop in order to preserve resources for the war effort. When Murray emerged from war, the bicycles they produced were low-end department store fodder.

Murray relocated bicycle production to Lawrenceburg, Tennessee (wapedia.mobi/en/Murray_(bicycles)) in 1956. The factory became huge even by American manufacturing standards, 42.7 acres at its peak. The plant housed Murray’s lawn and garden production along side the bicycles. Corporate headquarters went to Brentwood, Tennessee (socalbicycles.com/BikeHistory.htm).

In 1977 Murray jumped on the BMX bandwagon with the rest of the industry. (wapedia.mobi/en/Murray_(bicycles))

In 1982 Schwinn closed its outdated Chicago factory and shifted fully 1/3 of its production to Murray’s Nashville, Tennessee facility.

In 1986 Murray was bought by England’s Tomkins plc (socalbicycles.com).

In 2000 Murray fell under Chinese ownership when the company was purchased by Summersong Investment (socalbicycles.com).

For all intents and purposes, Murray as it was known for most of a century finally went out of business in 2005 (R. Young of Briggs & Stratton/Murray murrayinc@custhelp.com). Briggs & Stratton acquired the Murray name which is alive and well on a line of lawn and garden equipment. Murray is no longer a manufacturer of bicycles. (socalbicycles.com)

Eliminator – Part of Murray’s chopper line during the 1960s and 70s.
Firecat – Part of Murray’s chopper line during the 1960s and 70s.
Hotshot – Part of Murray’s chopper line during the 1960s and 70s.
Mercury (1939-1953) – The first product produced by Murray that did not carry another company’s name when it was purchased by the consumer. The Mercury was introduced at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. (wikipedia.org)
Monterey (1970s) -
Wildcat (1965-) – The Wildcat marked Murray’s entry into the chopper era (begun and dominated by the Schwinn Sting-Ray). Designed by the famed Viktor Schreckengost, the Wildcat featured high-rise handlebars, sissy bar, and a flared rear fender. (wapedia.mobi/en/Murray_(bicycles))

R. Young of Briggs & Stratton/Murray (murrayinc@custhelp.com)

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