Lot 603: 1890 Fairy Tricycle

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Colson can trace its history back to 1885 when founded as “Fay Manufacturing” in Elyria, Ohio. Mr. W.L. Fay was the owner. Original products were the Fay Sulky Scraper and the Fairy Trycycle. In 1891 the company was sold to Arthur L. Garford and renamed “Worthington Manufacturing Company” with George Worthington as president. By 1903 the company was reorganized to “The Worthington Company” with Mr. Fred Colson as principal owner. They made tricycles, invalid chairs, wheel chairs, carts, and casters made with rubber tread. In 1917 Fred Colson purchased the company and changed the name to . . . “The Colson Company.” He expanded the caster line, and to the product line was added hospital wheeled equipment & industrial material handling equipment.

In 1953, Chicago based lawyer/businessman Jay Pritzker & his 26 year old brother Bob, an engineer, bought Colson and eventually moved the manufacturing and management offices to Jonesboro, Arkansas. In 1964 Colson combined with The Marmon/Herrington Company, successor to the Marmon Motor Car Company, to form the Marmon Group. The Marmon Group of companies is an international association of autonomous manufacturing and service companies with collective sales of over $6 billion.

Fairy Tricycle designed by William Fay around 1885.

Colson manufactured bicycle ridden by Ronald Reagan and Dorothy Lamour in 1930’s.

The next few decades marked worldwide growth of manufacturing facilities, market share and capabilities for Colson Caster Corporation. Finally in 2002, Bob Pritzker purchased a majority interest in all of the worldwide caster companies that were member companies of The Marmon Group. He named the new company Colson Associates, Inc. Sadly, Mr. Pritzker passed away in 2011. And, in 2012, the Colson Group – Colson Associates’ caster and hardware companies – was purchased by Sentinel Capital Partners.

As a successful company of history, it is fitting for us to always look to the future. Colson brings a vision steeped in a thriving legacy to our customers, clients, and partners. It is an unparalleled legacy of product, service, and corporate responsibility. It is the legacy of a manufacturing company and its people.