We all bemoan the loss of countless New York City based manufacturers. But wait a minute. Before you write off NYC as a place where manufacturers can thrive, take a look at the Made in NYC webiste (www.madeinnyc.org.) There you will find hundreds of New York City-based manufacturers. Some old (like us) and some brand new. Some second and third generation (we go back four generations) and some started by fearless young entrepreneurs who are bent on turning conventional wisdom on its head.
MadeInNYC.org is an initiative of the Pratt Institute (a true NYC treasure itself!) Part of its Institute for Community Development, the purpose of MadeInNYC,org is to be a resource for NYC-based manufacturers to promote what they do to consumers, suppliers and other manufacturers. Combining business savvy with academic discipline, the good folks at MadeInNYC.org have proven to be a true powerhouse in the emerging city-based manufacturing renaissance.
We are proud to be a member of MadeInNYC.org and we urge you to look for the logo above when shopping for products. It says a lot more than simply our city of origin. It says a lot about the manufacturers themselves. They are tough. They are resilient. They know that while manufacturing in NYC takes a lot out of you, specifically in terms of regulations, energy costs, permitting, etc, it gives you access to an invaluable resource: the vitality of the world’s greatest city.
Here at Worksman, we are proud to have survived for over 115 years. We are proud to remain the last large-scale manufacturer of cycles in the U.S. But we are most proud that we have done it while staying right here in New York City. For those fellow manufacturers who have stuck it out like us you have our deepest admiration. For those who have recently chosen to set up shop in NYC, we applaud you. And to our friends at MadeinNYC.org, a hearty thank you for your efforts.
Here at Worksman we tend to disregard the old rule of “throw out the old” when the new year comes around. We prefer to use a little elbow grease and shine up, grease and, when necessary, refurbish our equipment. You see, when you manufacture cycles in the “old school” style, it is handy to have some “old school” equipment around. And boy do we have some very cool vintage equipment here.
Some of our equipment, like those two beauties shown here, have been in our family up to 75 years. They have moved with us from Manhattan to Brooklyn to our current home in Queens. Examining them closely, you’ll not find a circuit board, digital counters or any way to connect them to a network. You will find a substantial chunk of steel, a “roadmap” of wires and a lot of hydraulic fluid. Most of our machines were built by American manufacturers long passed into history. But those war horses just keep churning away as they have for decades.
You see, we have no qualms with modern equipment. We even have a new machine in the factory that mounts our airless technology tires onto our proprietary rolled clincher rims (which, by the way, are built using some 60 year old machines we bought from the Schwinn Bicycle Company when they closed up shop here in the U.S.) Heck, we even have an array of solar-panels on our roof! But our philosophy regarding equipment is pretty much the same as our philosophy when designing bikes: make them simple, rugged, and timeless. And build them so they last for decades.
We’ve all heard the old saying “they sure don’t build them like they used to.” Well we agree – and disagree. When it comes to our vintage machinery, we add our voice to that sad lament. But when our customers receive their new bicycle or tricycle with its beautiful steel frame -fully lugged and welded by hand – its sturdy rims – each laced, tightened and trued by hand – and lustrous paint – sprayed on frame by frame – they know that there are still some products made “like they used to be.” Yep, and right here in New York City.
Our best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.
We hope you found a shiny new bike under your tree this morning. But even if you didn’t, we wish you the joy of sharing warm, sunny, carefree and peaceful days ahead with friends and family.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Worksman Cycles.
We did not offer any Black Friday deals this year. We took a pass on Cyber Monday as well. Hype and hysteria is simply not our marketing style. We offer good value year round. Our customers are savvy enough to understand that.
But we love today – – Giving Tuesday. A day where we focus – and hopefully act upon – our best quality of helping others. Instead of spoiling ourselves or others with gifts we usually don’t need but simply want, we can help others with real needs who simply want to improve their lives.
We would love to sell you a new bike today. But we won’t beg you or entice you with silly offers. We will beg you, however, to give to a worthy cause today. Even a buck. We promise it will feel every bit as good as riding a new bike.
Here at Worksman, Thanksgiving is a special time in the most traditional sense.
Our factory’s staff is representative of the enormous cultural diversity of our home – Queens, NY. Many are immigrants or first generation Americans who are building a better life here in America. It is story repeated time after time since our company was founded by a young Russian immigrant in 1898.
While we all celebrate our ethnic, religious and cultural diversity, on this day we bond together as Americans. Each employee, whether from Guyana, Puerto Rico, Central Africa, Jamaica, or simply “Brooklyn” or” Queens,” whether they are Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Jewish, will all leave here with a turkey and all the trimmings.
Tomorrow on Thanksgiving we we will spend time with our families and give thanks for the bounty this country has bestowed upon us.
Enjoy the day.
This is our first blog post. Ok, we’re a little late to the game. But let’s see how fast you move when you are 115 years old. We’ve been building our bikes and trikes in New York City since 1898. So while change comes slowly around here, you can count on us sticking around.
We plan to keep you up-to-date on all the projects working their way through our factory here in Queens. The cool stuff – custom bikes, promotional/branding trikes, food vending carts and trucks and anything else our crew of talented craftsmen are working on.
Thanks for visiting.