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British Industrial History

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Triumph Cycle Co

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April 1899. Tandem cycle.
November 1902.
December 1902.
June 1904.
1905.
June 1911.
May 1913.
February 1922.
August 1923
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Oct 1927.
Dec1927.
June 1930.
May 1931.
May 1931.
July 1931.
July 1931.
November 1935. 500cc.
8 April 1936
June 1936.
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June 1936.
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June 1936.
July 1936.
July 1936.
July 1936.

Triumph Cycle Co of Coventry, producer of cycles and motorcycles. Later formed Triumph Motor Co

See also

1886 Triumph Cycle Company founded by Siegfried Bettmann [1]. Investment was by George Sawyer who became Chairman.

1887 The company registered as the New Triumph Co. Ltd., now with financial backing from the Dunlop Tyre Co.

1887 Bettmann was joined by Mauritz Schulte.

1888 Schulte encouraged Bettmann to transform Triumph into a manufacturing company, and Bettmann purchased a site in Coventry, using money lent by his and Schulte's families.

1889 The company began producing the first Triumph branded bicycles in 1889.

1890 Company incorporated.

1890 Charles Hathaway joined the company

1893 Mention. Triumph Cycle Company, Coventry. Bicycle Manufacturers.[2]

1895 Prospectus to raise 45,000 pounds. Triumph Cycle Co.[3]

1896 Triumph opened a subsidiary, Orial TWN (Triumph Werke Nuremberg), a German subsidiary for cycle production in his native city.

1897 The company was registered on 12 February, as the New Triumph Cycle Co, to acquire the business of the Triumph Cycle Co. In June, the name was changed to the Triumph Cycle Co. [4]

1902 Commenced making motorcycles

1903 Opened motorcycle production at its unit in Germany.

Launched a second, lower-end brand, Gloria, (see below), produced in the company's original plant.

1912 Listed in Spennell's directory of Coventry as Cycle Manufacturers. [5]

World War I. The outbreak of World War I proved a boost for the company as production was switched to support the Allied war effort. More than 30,000 motorcycles - among them the Model H Roadster aka the "Trusty Triumph," often cited as the first modern motorcycle - were supplied to the Allies. Major orders for the 550cc Model H came from the British Army during World War I and, by 1918, they were Britain's largest motorcycle maker.

1919 Mauritz Schulte left Triumph after conflicting opinions with Siegfried Bettmann, with a 'Golden Handshake' of £15,000. Schulte believed that Triumph should concentrate on car production, Bettmann strongly disagreed. The successor to Mauritz Schulte as General Manager, was Colonel Claude Vivian Holbrook, who worked for the War Office during World War 1 as a motorcycle procurement officer.

c.1921 Triumph Motor Co formed

By the mid-1920s Triumph had grown into one of Britain's leading motorcycle and car makers, with a 500,000 square feet plant capable of producing up to 30,000 motorcycles and cars each year.

1931 Name changed to Triumph Company.

1932 Triumph sold off its bicycle manufacturing facility to Raleigh.

1933 Triumph had been struggling financially; Bettmann was forced out of the chairman's spot; he retired completely in 1934.

1936 The company hit financial problems however and in 1936 the Triumph motorcycle businesses were sold to Jack Sangster of Ariel to become the Triumph Engineering Co. Bicycle production was acquired by Coventry Bicycles [6]. According to some source, Siegfried Bettmann was involved in this.


Triumph Cycles in Germany

German Triumph Cycle Work AG in Nuremberg/Germany[7]

1896, May 22 Company was founded by Eduard Haas, merchant in Nuremberg/Germany, Julius Beißbarth, merchant in Nuremberg/Germany, Sigmund Bettmann, merchant in Nuremberg/Germany, Josef Kohn Söhne, banking house in Nuremberg/Germany, The Triumph Cycle Co. Ltd, bicycle manufacturer in Coventry/UK, Sigmund Adelung, merchant in Fürth/Germany, who was appointed Commercial Manager

Stock capital was 500,000 Marks[8]

According to the memorandum of association German Triumph Cycle Work AG had the right to sell bicycles and bicycle parts in Germany, Austria-Hungary, Switzerland, Romania, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.[9]

1897, January 1st: Company enrolled at the Professional Register in Nuremberg, stating they employ 1 director, 3 white collars, 1 apprentice and 100 workers.[10]

1897, December 10: General Assembly determined to increase stock capital to 1 mill. Marks

From 1899 onward: As a consequence of the crisis of German bicycle industry German Triumph Cycle Work AG incurred considerable losses for a couple of years and could not pay any dividend from fiscal year 1898/99 til 1904/05[11]

Year No of bicycles No of workers
Production and number of workers developed as follows[12]
1896 600 75
1898 5900 300
1900 5000 150
1902 6750 175
1904 17000 275
1906 21000 350
1908 20500 305

In 1903 German Triumph Cycle Work AG started production of motorcycles, but stopped this activity in 1907 because of insufficient demand as these first motorcycles were technically unreliable and too expensive.

In 1909 German Triumph Cycle Work AG acquired Kührt & Riegelmann GmbH in Nuremberg, producer of "Norica" typewriters and strengthend their activities in the field of office machines. Due to this new focus, the company name was changed to Triumph Werke Nürnberg AG in 1911.

  • Notes:
  • Fränkischer Kurier: Daily newspaper in Northern Bavaria
  • Paller: Book written by Rupert von Paller: Die bayrische Fahrrad-Industrie. Eine geschichtlich-statistische Betrachtung, Nürnberg 1908 (The bavarian bicycle-industy. A historic-statistic reflection, published in Nuremberg 1908)

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Tuesday, Sep 25, 1951
  2. [1] Gazette Issue 26375 published on the 22 February 1893. Page 7 of 30
  3. Irish Independent - Tuesday 28 May 1895
  4. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  5. Spennell's Annual Directory of Coventry and District, 1912-13
  6. History of Coventry [2]
  7. Collated by Peter Ullein (March 2018)
  8. Fränkischer Kurier, May 22, 1896, No. 261, p. 3,
  9. Fränkischer Kurier, May 5,1899, No. 228, p. 8
  10. Municipal Archive Nuremberg, C22/V, No. 40
  11. Paller, p. 10 f
  12. Paller, p. 12
  • Trademarked. A History of Well-Known Brands - from Aertex to Wright's Coal Tar by David Newton. Pub: Sutton Publishing 2008 ISBN 978-0-7509-4590-5