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Adlake (Adams Westlake) Bicycle History

The Adams and Westlake website claims that the company dates back to 1857 and began in Chicago, IL as a railroad supply and hardware manufacturer. na101wild’s eBay page on the history of kerosene lanterns describes a collaboration between John McGregor Adams of Londonderry, New Hampshire and William Westlake of Cornwall, England that began on October 21, 1874.

Westlake invented the removable globe lantern in 1862 and began manufacturing in Chicago, IL. Adams was operating a successful sales company in Chicago. The two formed the Adams and Westlake Company in 1874 and “Adlake” has been a successful transportation industry supplier ever since. Adlake.com claims the company “became one of the largest suppliers of equipment to the transportation industry in the world” at the turn of the century.

But why limit your company to just one industry? Adlake sold stoves, brass beds, aluminum windows, cabinet hinges, travel trunks, and more. eBay is peppered with more than a century of vintage Adlake products. Adlake apparently sold cameras in 1898. According to na101wild, Adlake merged with the Forsyth Brothers Company in 1899 in order to form the Curtain Supply Company which was moved to Elkhart, IN in 1923. The rest of Adlake’s manufacturing followed in 1927 and the transportation industry supplier is still in operation there today.

Adams and Westlake is listed in the New York Times (October 8, 1896) as one of the exhibitors at the Grand Cycle Show at the Grand Central Palace. The event is described as having to be expanded to accommodate unexpected demand for exhibition space. Thewheelmen.org reports a merger of a group of companies in Chicago that came together to form The Great Western Manufacturing Company around the turn of the century. The Adlake portion of this merger probably comporsixed only the bicycle arm of Adlake.

Today Adlake is located in Elkhart, IN and continues to manufacture for the transportation industry. They supply companies like General Motors, Amtrak, and Kawasaki.

na101wild’s eBay page
New York Times
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