Triumph


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The company began in 1885 when Siegfried Bettmann emigrated from Nuremberg, part of the German Empire, to Coventry in England. In 1884, aged 20, Bettmann founded his own company, the S. Bettmann & Co. Import Export Agency, in London. Bettmann’s original products were bicycles, which the company bought and then sold with its own brand name. Bettmann also distributed sewing machines imported from Germany.

In 1886, Bettmann sought a more general name, and the company became known as the Triumph Cycle Company. A year later, the company registered as the New Triumph Co. Ltd.,now with funding from the Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company. During that year, Bettmann was joined as a partner by another Nuremberg native, Moritz Schulte.

Schulte encouraged Bettmann to transform Triumph into a manufacturing company, and in 1888 Bettmann purchased a site in Coventry using money lent by his and Schulte’s families. The company began producing the first Triumph-branded bicycles in 1889. In 1896 Triumph initiated a factory in Nuremberg for bicycle production in Bettman’s native city.

In 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 Minerva engine. In 1903, after selling more than 500 motorcycles, Triumph began motorcycle production at its unit in Germany. During its first few years producing motorcycles, the company based its designs on those of other manufacturers. In 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.

In 1907, after the company opened a larger plant, it produced 1,000 machines. Triumph had also initiated a second, lower-end brand, Gloria, produced in the company’s original plant.

Confusion between motorcycles produced by the Coventry and Nuremberg Triumph companies resulted in the latter’s products being renamed Orial for certain export markets. However there was already a company Orial in France so the Nuremberg motorcycles were renamed again as ”TWN”, representing Triumph Werke Nürnberg.

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