Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 127,392 pages of information and 200,997 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Triumph Cycle Co

From Graces Guide

Jump to: navigation, search
April 1899. Tandem cycle.
November 1902.
December 1902.
June 1904.
June 1911.
May 1913.
February 1922.
August 1923
Oct 1927. Bicycling News and Motor Review.
Dec1927. Bicycling News and Motor Review.
June 1930.
May 1931.
May 1931.
July 1931.
July 1931.
November 1935. 500cc.
8 April 1936 Advert from CyclingMagazine.
June 1936.
June 1936.
June 1936.
July 1936.
July 1936.
July 1936.


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 another Nuremberg native, 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 Charles Hathaway joined the company

1890s Motorcycle manufacture began in Coventry.

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

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. [3]

1898 Triumph decided to extend its own production to include motorcycles and by 1902, the company had produced its first motorcycle - a bicycle fitted with a Belgian-built engine. In 1903, as its motorcycle sales topped 500, Triumph opened motorcycle production at its unit in Germany. During its first few years producing motorcycles, the company based its designs on those of other manufacturers.

1902 Branched out into making Triumph motorcycles at their works in Much Park Street. At first these used bought-in engines but the business took off and they soon started making their own and, in 1907, expanded into a new factory in Priory Street, taking over the premises of a spinning mill.

1902 The first Triumph motorcycle was known as the No. 1, a converted bicycle fitted with a Belgian-made 2.25bhp Minerva engine on the front tube. At the time, internal combustion technology was more advanced in continental Europe than it was in the UK, and Mauritz Schulte, the designer (and co-owner of the Triumph Cycle Company), happened to be a perfectionist.

1904, Triumph began building motorcycles based on its own designs and in 1905 produced its first completely in-house designed motorcycle. By the end of that year, the company had produced more than 250 of that design.

1907 After the company opened a larger plant, production reached 1,000 bikes. Triumph had also launched a second, lower-end brand, Gloria, (see below), produced in the company's original plant.

1908 Advert in 'The Times' for Triumph Motorcycles. [4]

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.


See Triumph: Cycles


See Triumph: Motorcycles

Motor Cars

See Triumph Motor Co

See Also


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. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  4. The Times, Wednesday, Jul 22, 1908
  5. Spennell's Annual Directory of Coventry and District, 1912-13
  6. History of Coventry [2]
  • 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