Friday, 23 January 2015

Buy Britisch Motorrad

I've often felt that I should get another Triumph. I owned one briefly in the late 60's, a Thunderbird, and I once looked after a friends Tiger Cub. Both were fun and left the traditional oil puddle, something of a trade mark for British bikes of that vintage.

These days I'm on a BMW R1200R but having made an interesting discovery I don't feel quite so guilty. I hadn't been aware until very recently that the Triumph company was actually started in the 1880s in Coventry, by Siegfried Bettmann, a German Jewish chap from Nuremberg. He started a high-quality bicycle company (the Triumph Cycle Co.), which, at the very beginning of the 20th century, started making motor-bicycles (after a very short time using proprietary engines but then one designed and built in-house).

Bettmann was joined by a fellow countryman, Mauritz Johann Schulte, sometime in the 1890s, and the two maintained an active, if sometimes rather acrimonious, business partnership until Schulte left the company in 1919. Interestingly Bettmann became so respected a local figure he was elected Mayor of Coventry in 1913, but sadly the effects of anti-German feeling meant that he had to relinquish that position soon after the outbreak of war (although he avoided being interned).
It intrigued me that the manufacturers of the Triumph Model H motorcycle which was the primary British Dispatch Rider bike of WWI was built by a company founded by two Germans.

Und zo, it zeems zat I vill heff to shpeak viz ein Cherman eccent veneffer I em reiding ein Triumph. Wunderbar!
Auf widersehen



Trobairitz said...

Noice. Always good to learn a little bit more.

Bill Brandt said...

The history of Triumph is, to me, as interesting as Jaguar. They started out making motorcycle sidecars, although I think that Billy Lyons, later Sir Wm, was pretty English :-)

To me there is always something cool about a kick start Triumph. And of course you have to try 2-3 times before the engine roars to life.