In 1895, Colonel Albert Pope, an early bicycle proponent and manufacturer, noticed that bicycles were losing ground to a new leisure activity for the wealthy, the horseless carriage. Pope hired an engineer and they began to experiment. Starting with a manufacturing empire already in place, Pope had an enormous advantage over others who were working toward the same goal. By 1899, the Pope Manufacturing Company had become the largest car producer in America, having produced over 500 vehicles.
Pope autos were noted for their speed, quality, reliability, and excellent hill climbing ability. The Pope-Hartford was to become the most successful and longest-lived of the Pope cars. The exceptional craftsmanship used to make this car is evident in the brass work and the use of mahogany for the dash and fender-mounted battery box. Leather was used for the upholstery, interior panels, and the fender and running board aprons.
Pope-Hartfords also enjoyed wide acceptance as chassis for fire apparatus and commercial vehicles.