Vintage Schwinn Bicycle PDF Catalogs - Doug Barnes

Monday, July 19, 2021

Vintage Schwinn Bicycle PDF Catalogs


The Schwinn catalogs are an important part of bicycle history. The Schwinn family bicycle company started in the 1890s by making safety bicycle era. The brand gained popularity with its balloon tire bikes for children in the 1930s through 1950s. The company sales took off during the bicycle boom of the late 1960s and 1970s.  Schwinn struggled to figure out a financial model in the face of increasing competition and the low costs of manufacturing in Asia. In the late 1980s, the Schwinn balance sheet began to deteriorate leading to the sale of the company's name in the early 1990s. The Schwinn Catalogs are a mirror for all of this rich company history. 

I used several sites that have quite a bit of information on Schwinn bicycles.  The sites with the most information on Schwinn catalogs were BikeHistory and Waterford Precision Cycles.  Waterford credits Tom Findley for the catalog scans. In what must have been a labor of love, Tom Findley scanned each individual page including the front and back of the Schwinn bicycle catalogs. Each individual page is presented by year on the Waterford site. The Catalog PDFs in this post have been drawn mainly from the Waterford website because they are the original page scans from the Schwinn Catalogs. I also have some selected files from the VeloPages website on Schwinn that are not covered in either the BikeHistory or the Waterford sites.  

The Waterford site has the individual pages in historical order but they are not compiled in any way. The BikeHistory site takes a different approach. The site has all the original images taken from the catalogs dating from as early as 1899. They have transcribed all the text from the catalogs to accompany the pictures. Both of these sites have been very helpful for me in researching the history of some of the Schwinn bicycles. 

After I began merging the individual pages available on the other websites into one complete catalog, I decided that putting together all of them to give a more comprehensive picture of Schwinn's history. Also, the PDFs get as close as possible to the original source without actually having a paper copy. 

For the comprehensive list of the Schwinn catalog individual page images, it is best to go to the Waterford or the BikeHistory websites. Also, if you have trouble reading the text in the PDFs-- which sometimes are blurry--BikeHistory has entered all the text from the catalogs into a more readable format. 

These catalogs were originally in the posting on A Short History of Schwinn Vintage Bicycles.  I decided it made more sense to post the catalog PDFs on their own. 

The 1890s

First Schwinn World Roadster Bicycle, 1895
(Image: Schwinn Bicycle Catalog, 1895)
1895 Pages from Publication Famous Schwinn Built Bicycles.

1899 Schwinn Catalog.

The 1900s through the 1920s

Schwinn Selection of World Bicycles, 1925
(Image: Schwinn Bicycle Summary Sheets, 1925)
Schwinn Uses Universal Studies as Advertising Backdrop, 1967
(Image: Cover of 1967 Schwinn Bicycle Catalog)

The 1970s

Schwinn 75 Anniversary Catalog, Knotts Berry Farm, 1970
(Image: 1970 Schwinn Catalog)

The 1980s

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