Bicycle baskets were not the first product Wald invented. Rather, it was a bicycle tire repair tool. But it didn’t take long for Grandpa Ewald and Uncle Herman to recognize what a difference the bicycle basket could be.
Nobody quite remembers exactly when or why, but one day Grandpa Ewald and Uncle Herman decided it was time to move on. The little shop Wald Cycle Company grew up in served the brothers well. The people of Sheboygan, Wisconsin loved their two-wheeled citizens, but Grandpa and Uncle Herman needed something new. A new product idea was always welcome, but this itch needed a bigger scratch. They had greater aspirations for their business.
Thanks to the success of the Wald Tire Repair Tool back in 1905 (yes, we were around before Henry Ford’s Model T), business was booming. The brothers knew it could be better though. People all over the country were using their bikes to get around. Grandpa Ewald and Uncle Herman both knew they needed to find a way to get more products to more customers more efficiently.
So after packing up the shop, they hopped on a south-bound train. When they came to the banks of the Ohio River in northern Kentucky, they knew they’d found Wald’s new home. They were especially pleased that it was a lot warmer here.
Therefore in 1924, Maysville, Kentucky became the new home for the Wald Cycle Company.
Wald’s business grew and grew right along with the bicycle industry. Even the invention of the mass produced automobile and the passing of two world wars couldn’t slow down the Wald machinery. A new factory was built in Maysville and grew from one central production facility to a sprawling 300,000 square-foot complex.
During World War II, Wald was honored by the U.S. Armed Forces with their prestigious “E” Award for our ability to produce munitions reliably and efficiently. Like many companies during that time, Wald did whatever we could to help our troops win the war.
Thanks to contracts with American bicycle manufacturers including Schwinn, Huffy, Murray, and Roadmaster, Wald was producing millions of parts annually for bikes of all shapes and sizes. All the while, executives at Wald were piling up the patents for bicycle baskets, training wheels, kickstands, racks, handlebars, fenders, and pedals. If it was a part used on a bicycle, we came up with an innovative way to produce it.
We were so successful that the leading bicycling publication of the day (American Bicyclist and Motorcyclist) featured our company in a six-page article to celebrate our 50th anniversary in 1955.
Yes, Grandpa Ewald and Uncle Herman’s gamble paid off. The four balanced seasons and Kentucky’s central location to the rest of the country provided a perfect environment for Wald to try out new products and expand its business. However, much like the car industry found out, the global market forces of offshore bicycle and parts manufacturers were about to change the game.
Like many American companies before us, at times it has been a struggle to come to terms with the new business landscape. Wald supplemented our bicycle business by producing products for automotive and appliance manufacturers. As a result, you’d be surprised where our products turn up today (we’re looking in your direction fellow Honda, Chrysler, Ford and GM owners).
So currently Wald is trying to become more nimble while retaining our most valuable competitive advantage – our dedication to quality. Wald is still a company dedicated to producing durable bicycle accessories that increase the functionality of your bike. Thanks to our long-standing reputation within the industry, we are confident you will like the new Wald because we are embracing what got us here in the first place. We hope you’ll be as excited about it as we are.
None of this would be possible however if not for the commitment and pride of our employees. The long and successful run Wald has enjoyed is due directly to the hard work and commitment the folks at Wald provide every day. We believe you will recognize this commitment in the quality of every Wald product you see and use.
No other domestic bicycle parts manufacturer comes close to our longevity. When you purchase or use our products, you too become an integral part of that legacy. Thank you for your interest in our products. We hope you find something you need, or even better, something you like.