[CR] EDCO Crank origins

(Example: Framebuilding:Tubing:Falck)

Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 18:11:38 -0800
From: "Norris Lockley" <norris.lockley@yahoo.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: [CR] EDCO Crank origins

The EDCO brand name derives from the name of the founder of the original co mpany DUBIED et Cie...a Swiss precision machining company, founded in 1867 by Henri- Edouard Dubied, who at that time was an internationally known dis tiller of blue absinthe.

Henri-Edouard then ventured into the manufacture of industrial knitting mac hines, founding a company that became internationally known as  one of th e leading suppliers of V-bed and flat-bed knitting machines

In the early 1900s it also manufactured among other things steel cycle hubs , being also  known for producing a range of lathes.

During the period 67 -72 the company's Jacquard system double-knitting mach ines were used world wide in the clothing industry, but when competition fr om other companies flooded the market and prices dropped  Dubied's viabil ty began to be questioned. However it struggled on and invented a 3-dimensi onal circular knitting machine capable of knitting carbon-fibre marix mater ials for use in manufacturing carbon brake discs for aeroplanes. Unfortunat ely the company had financial problems in the late 80s and went into bankru ptcy in 1987. The manufacturing  business was bought out by an English co mpany in 1988, but it seems that the original company remained in business selling and repairing knitting machines until its final liquidation in Janu ary 2008.

A descendant of the original founder , and a very keen cyclist, started div ersifying into cycle parts in the 70s and 80s, and I had the pleasure of be ing introduced to him by Bruno Gourmand, the boss of MAVIC, at the Cologne Show in 1984. I remember him as a tall extremely elegant refined gentleman who got his kicks out of bikes and, as the market for high-end accessories developed, decided to produce parts that his factory had the skills and cap acity to make.

Because of their capacity for precision turning, his first products were sophisticated cartridge bottom brackets and headsets, shortly to be follow ed by sets of hubs. His firm however had no capacity for casting or forging and so in eagerness tio produce a groupset he bought in from other manufac turers. I recall that both Simplex and Huret supplied him with gear sets, a nd I think Modolo made his brake sets for at least some while.

It is interesting to note that not too far away from Dubied's factory site there was a company called Di Modolo..but whether this was connected to the Di- Modolo company in Piave, Italy, I do not know.

The crank sets were mostly produced by the same firm who did the forging at that time for TA and MAVIC, a company that was based in Spain. Whether the re was a connection with ZEUS, I am not certain. There was also another Spa nish producer of cranks whose name escapes me but I think it begins with SE or SU. It has been suggested that some cranks were produced by either Nerv ar or Stronglight..but judging by the quality of the EDCO cranksets, and if there is any truth in the rumour, it is likely that Stronglight would have been the manufacturer, particularly as the design of the crank spider rese mbles a couple of sets produced in the Stronglight range, albeit with a low er standard of finish.

Just for the record the revolutionary ( sorry about the pun) crankset calle d the OFMEGA Sintesi in the early 80s, the forgings were made in the UK by Sturmey-Archer of all companies, and the machining carried out in Italy

Up to 1988 the firm was known as E. Dubied, but then became known as EDCO, after the failure of the parent company. I understand that the cycle parts division was bought out by management, and apparently the company is still trading today, specialising in turned components, particularly hubs and whe elsets.

Norris Lockley...Settle UK..where no cranksets for either EDCO or OFMEGA ha ve ever been produced.